Does Moscow help strengthen Assad’s regime or it is going to fight the “Islamic State,” the VoA has asked.
Russia’s activity in the area of the Syrian airdrome in Latakia and the naval base in Tartus has intensified, as these facilities are in poor state and need repair, the Russian Vedomosti newspaper reported today citing a source close to the Defense Ministry of the Russian Federation.
A day earlier, the United States again voiced its concerns over Moscow’s military presence in the Syrian territory. Pentagon supposes that Russia is creating an air base in Syria. Earlier, U.S. President Barack Obama voiced his concerns over the activity of the Russian military in Syria saying it may obstruct the United States and its allies from putting an end to the civil war in that Arab state with political methods.
Foreign Minister of Russia Sergei Lavrov, in turn, confirmed in an interview to the Russian television, that Moscow is supplying weapons to Damascus and will continue doing it. The minister said that along with the arms supply, Russia sends military personnel there “in order to help the Syrians master the equipment.”
Alexander Shumilin, head of the Moscow-based Center for the Analysis of Middle East Conflicts, is sure that Russia tries to help President Bashar al-Assad and his cronies survive physically. Talking to VoA, Shumilin said they focus on president’s survival, not on retention of his power even in Damascus. Assad is yielding the territory to the progressing adversaries and he may be reluctant to hide in the area of Latakia, if the developments in the battle filed continue the way they are going.
Shumilin thinks the positions in the zone of the conditional “Alawistan” where Russian military facilities are located are being strengthened. Mahmoud al-Hamza, the Syrian National Council representative in Russia, a member of the “Declaration of Damascus” movement, agrees that Moscow’s latest actions aimed to support Assad’s regime. Apparently, he told VoA, they try to move Assad to Latakia and keep him there as the legitimate president of Syria.
Mahmoud al-Hamza is sure that Russia “will actually lose everything in Syria” if Assad’s regime is defeated. “Russia hurries to gain foothold on the Mediterranean coast of Syria to help, first of all, the Alawites and protect its interests,” he explained. The politician thinks all this is coordinated with Iran.
As to the question in the American newspaper’s headline, EADaily highlights two issues some Western and Middle East authors oppose to each other: support to the Syrian authorities and fight against the Islamic State. Following the policy of their governments, many foreign analysts judge basing on the “either…or” principle. Meantime, it is logical that the support to Bashar al-Assad and other adequate forces in Syria is actually the only method now to counteract the Islamic State in the course of land operations.
Useless airstrikes on the Jihadists amid the United States’ unreasonable calls for Russia to stop helping the Syrian government show that the West has no circumspect strategy of fighting against the IS. Instead, it has a desire to set its Western and Middle East partners against Russia by alarming that “Russian troops going to Syria.” Unfortunately, Washington is still indisposed to take real steps to destroy the IS, not just speculate on the issue.