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    A Syrian man stands in the rubble of destroyed buildings following an air strike in Aleppo's rebel-controlled neighbourhood of Karm al-Jabal. (File)

    Russia 'Understands the Direction That Washington Wants Syrian War to Go'

    © AFP 2019 / KARAM AL-MASRI
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    Policymakers in the United States have never been intent on degrading and destroying terrorist groups fighting in Syria, international relations analyst Salman Rafi Sheikh wrote for New Eastern Outlook, adding that Washington's primary goal has remained to remove President Bashar al-Assad from power and Russia is aware of this.

    Salman Rafi Sheikh turned to recent developments to support his assertions. He pointed to the Pentagon's attack on the Syrian Arab Army's base in the city of Deir ez-Zor that put an end to the fragile ceasefire sponsored by Russia and the US as evidence that Washington wants to escalate violence in the war-torn country, particularly Aleppo.  

    "The new Russia-Syria offensive on Aleppo now, at this particular stage, has the potential to decisively turn the tide of events to their advantage, which would imply a clear defeat for the US, its allies and their jointly-backed proxy groups," he said.

    Experts agree that the outcome of the battle for Aleppo could well determine the outcome of the Syrian conflict as a whole. Since US-backed rebels appear to be losing in Aleppo, Washington, according to the analyst, has come to the conclusion that only escalation "can salvage the US and its allies on the ground."

    In addition, the US and its allies have engaged in a smear campaign against Moscow and Damascus for their counterterrorism efforts in Aleppo, the analyst added.

    Washington is trying to "project Russia and Syria as essentially 'villains' and force them into taking actions that would presumably invite more criticism and, if need be, violence," he explained. "By projecting Russia and Syria as 'brutal,' the US is creating a justification for pumping more jihadi fighters into Syria, sending more weapons and then painting this situation as yet another uprising against Assad's 'brutality.'"

    Syrian pro-government soldiers hold a position as they advance in Aleppo's restive Bustan al-Basha neighbourhood on October 6, 2016
    © AFP 2019 / GEORGE OURFALIAN
    Syrian pro-government soldiers hold a position as they advance in Aleppo's restive Bustan al-Basha neighbourhood on October 6, 2016

    Salman Rafi Sheikh maintained that "Russia understands the direction the US is wanting the war to go to." The analyst warned Moscow against falling "prey to deliberate provocation," but noted that "a measured response" to the US' activities is "a strategic necessity."

    The analyst further pointed out that the US will refrain from launching a large-scale ground operation in Syria since President Barack Obama's term will end in four months and the US Congress is highly unlikely to authorize such an operation.

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    Tags:
    Syrian crisis, Islamic extremism, radical Islam, fighting, Syrian conflict, violence, counterterrorism, Bashar al-Assad, Syria, United States, Russia, Aleppo
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