00:38 GMT25 November 2020
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    Russia Versus ISIL in Syria (618)
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    If the agreement that Russia and the United States reached to halt fighting in Syria, conduct joint counterterrorism operations and deliver humanitarian aid works, it will provide a major boost to Moscow's international clout, particularly in the Middle East, Irish journalist Patrick Cockburn asserted.

    Russia, he said, "could be poised to become a super power again" thanks to the joint initiative that Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and US Secretary of States unveiled last week.

    "If the plan goes ahead, it goes a long way towards elevating Russia back to the status of a superpower – at least in the Middle East – that it lost with fall of the Soviet Union in 1991," he wrote for the Independent.

    Hmeimim airbase in Syria
    © Sputnik / Ramil Sitdikov
    Hmeimim airbase in Syria

    The long-awaited deal paves the way for a nationwide ceasefire expected to come into force at sundown on September 12. If no major stakeholder violates the secession of hostilities for at least seven days, Moscow and Washington will create a center to develop a joint airstrike campaign against al-Nusra Front and Daesh.

    This is something that high-ranking Russian officials have long advocated. Moscow has urged Washington to coordinate their counterterrorism activities in Syria from the moment Russian warplanes landed at the Hmeymim airbase in the province of Latakia in September 2015.

    On June 30, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that "what we want is to work in close cooperation with the United States on international affairs." On September 5, Putin mentioned that he discussed possible cooperation between Russia and the US in Syria during a meeting with US President Barack Obama at the sidelines of the G20 forum in China.

    "Both countries have an interest in fighting terrorism and we sense – I do, at any rate – the US President is also completely sincere in wanting to achieve results in fighting terrorism and resolving the Syrian conflict," he said.

    India may bring out an initiative of establishing a fund to restore the post-war Syria at the upcoming BRICS summit, a government source said Friday.
    © REUTERS / Abdalrhman Ismail
    India may bring out an initiative of establishing a fund to restore the post-war Syria at the upcoming BRICS summit, a government source said Friday.

    For their part, policymakers in the US have long been reluctant to accept Russia's offer due to major differences on how to resolve the Syrian crisis, what the country's future should be and who has the right to determine it. Washington has insisted on President Bashar al-Assad's resignation and backed armed rebel groups fighting to overthrow him. Moscow has maintained that only the Syrian people have the right to choose their leaders.

    In this context, the latest deal could well be viewed as a major diplomatic win for Moscow even if it does not last.

    "This is a success for Russia because it had insisted on signing [this agreement] and worked on it for a long time," Fyodor Lukyanov, editor-in-chief of Russia in Global Affairs and research director at the Valdai International Discussion Club, told AFP.

    Everyday life of the Russian air group at the Hmeymim airfield in Syria
    Everyday life of the Russian air group at the Hmeymim airfield in Syria

    Alexei Pushkov, the Foreign Affairs Committee chairman in the lower house of the Russian parliament, maintained that there would have been no deal if not for Moscow's limited military engagement in Syria.

    "The agreement on Syria would not have been possible if not for the campaign of the Russian Aerospace Forces. It prevented a military scenario of Assad's removal from power, forcing the United States to negotiating table," he tweeted.

    Topic:
    Russia Versus ISIL in Syria (618)

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    Tags:
    counterterrorism, cooperation, Russian aerial campaign, Syrian ceasefire, ceasefire, deal, Syrian crisis, Syrian conflict, Vladimir Putin, Syria, US, Russia
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