05:24 GMT07 April 2020
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    Russia's Operation in Syria: One Year On (35)

    On September 28, 2015, Russian President Vladimir Putin asked Western leaders and their allies whether they understood what they have done in the Middle East and urged them to form a broad counterterrorism coalition. Twelve months later, they still have failed to make the right choice, political analyst Dmitry Kosyrev wrote for RIA Novosti.

    Russia's limited military engagement in Syria is a testament to what could have been achieved if Washington had decided to join forces with Moscow and fight terrorist groups such as Daesh and al-Nusra Front together.

    "A minimalistic and selective use of our military force led Syria out of a deadlock not in a year, but in the first three-four months, turned the tide of war and drastically improved Russia's standing not only in the Middle East, but throughout the world," he observed.

    All this time, Russian leaders have repeatedly called on other countries, particularly the United States, to join forces and defeat what the Kremlin perceives as one of the greatest global challenges facing every country: international terrorism.

    Russian President Vladimir Putin addresses attendees during the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly at the UN Headquarters in New York, September 28, 2015
    © REUTERS / Mike Segar
    Russian President Vladimir Putin addresses attendees during the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly at the UN Headquarters in New York, September 28, 2015

    President Putin made an appeal a year ago on this very day.

    "What we propose is to join efforts to address the challenges that all of us are facing and create a genuinely broad international coalition against terrorism," he told the UN General Assembly in 2015. "Similar to the anti-Hitler coalition, it could unite a broad range of parties willing to stand firm against those who, just like the Nazis, sow evil and hatred of humankind."

    Putin warned that some might be tempted to use this proposal as a pretext for accusing Russia of "its growing ambitions," as if they themselves have no ambitions. "It is not about Russia's ambitions, dear colleagues, but about the recognition of the fact that we can no longer tolerate the current state of affairs in the world."

    Russian aircraft at Hemeimeem Air Base in Syria
    © Sputnik / Dmitriy Vinogradov
    Russian aircraft at Hemeimeem Air Base in Syria

    The West has failed to take Russia up on its offer. This might have something to do with the fact that the US and its allies misjudged Moscow's counterterrorism capabilities.

    President Obama warned that Russia was "just going" to end up "stuck in a quagmire" and its anti-Daesh operation "won't work" less than a week after the Russian Aerospace Forces carried out their first mission in Syria.

    "They have also miscalculated the political implications of Russia displaying its military might," Kosyrev said. "They failed to predict that 'isolated' Russia would find itself at the heart of global politics and everyone would need Moscow. They did not foresee that the Russian economy would go through a hard time and come out healthier." 

    Kosyrev further said that what the US and its allies have been left with is failure.

    "We urged them to form a coalition; we offered cooperation and joint campaigns," he noted. Had they said yes, "today we would have celebrated a common victory."

    Russia's Operation in Syria: One Year On (35)


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    Syrian crisis, joint operation, Russian aerial campaign, anti-terrorist coalition, Islamic extremism, radical Islam, Syrian conflict, counterterrorism, international terrorism, cooperation, Vladimir Putin, Syria, United States, Russia
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