13:37 GMT31 July 2021
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    Russia's Operation in Syria: One Year On (35)

    Russia's decision to launch airstrikes a year ago helped it gain ground diplomatically, Robert Naiman, policy director for the think-tank Just Foreign Policy, told Sputnik.

    Sukhoi Su-25 assault aircraft is prepared for departure from Hmeymim  Air Base in Syria for its permanent base in Russia. file photo
    © Photo : Press service of the Russian Defense Ministry
    In an interview with Sputnik, Robert Naiman, policy director for the think-tank Just Foreign Policy, commented on Russia's air campaign in Syria, which he said created more space for "realistic diplomacy."

    The interview came as Friday marked the first anniversary of the beginning of Russia's anti-terrorist air campaign in Syria, which was launched at the behest of the Syrian government.

    "It [the air campaign] poured cold water on some people's aspirations for more vigorous US military intervention in Syria. Also, it paved more ground for a diplomatic solution to the Syrian problem," he said.

    As far as Russia's air campaign is concerned, it gave Russia the ability to take a role in solving the region’s problems, according to Naiman.

    "If you look over the course of the past year, there had been a much more realistic conversation than the current one, with the US talking to Russia, and with the US talking to Iran for the first time about something that created more space for realistic diplomacy," he said.

    Russian military air group at Hmeymim airbase in Syria. file photo
    © Sputnik / Dmitriy Vinogradov
    Russian military air group at Hmeymim airbase in Syria. file photo

    Naiman also pointed to a shift in Washington's relations with its regional partners, including Turkey and Saudi Arabia, due to Russia's Air campaign.

    "As for the US's ties with its regional allies, the things are much mixed now than they were when this Western military intervention in Syria started," he pointed out.

    Moscow launched its first airstrikes against terrorist positions in Syria at the behest of President Bashar Assad on September 30, 2015.

    The bombardments were conducted in close cooperation with the Syrian government’s fight against Islamic extremists, and made use of intelligence data collected from a coordination center in Baghdad.

    In March 2016, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the withdrawal of a major bulk of the Russian forces from Syria, citing the successful fulfillment of their tasks.

    However, some of the air units remained in the country to provide aerial support for ground operations launched by the Syrian Army.

    In total, in the past twelve months the Russian Aerospace Forces destroyed thousands of terrorist positions in Syria, including command and control centers, arms depots, oil refineries and others.

    The aerial campaign also made it possible to free key areas in Latakia, Idlib and Aleppo provinces, including Syria’s famous ancient city of Palmyra.

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


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    Russia, Syria, diplomacy, relations, intervention, solution, air campaign, shift
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