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Indias World Russias Gambit in Syria

insightsonindia.com/2015/10/12/indias-world-russias-gambit-in-syria/

INSIGHTS

12/10/2015

Indias World Russias gambit in Syria


Summary:
Recently, Russias parliament approved the launching of air strikes in Syria. There is also an allegation that Russian
air strikes are not just aimed at ISIS militants, but also at those opposed to the regime of president Bashar al Assad.
However, Russian foreign minister has clarified that the air strikes were against all terrorists in Syria, but not against
the civilians. The ongoing war in the Middle East is expected to increase the chaos and disorder in the region. It
may also end the existing state system and set in motion a larger global crisis. Russia has entered into a military
alliance with Syria, Iraq, Iran and Hezbollah. There is an allegation that this effort involves military operations not
just against ISIL, but also against the Free Syrian Army and many other groups.
It is also being said that Russias military intervention in Syria has further complicated the existing problem. Russian
air support will help strengthen the Assad regime, at least in the short run. It may also prolong the war and increase
the suffering of civilians. However, it is also true that Russian move brings an opportunity, which the United States
and its allies should seize, to shift the focus of international concern about Syria away from the military extinction of
Isis towards the protection of those civilians by whatever arrangements that can be achieved. It is also being said
that this intervention may bring military advantage to one contender or another. Some critics see a parallel between
Russias intervention in Ukraine and its new push into Syria.
Russias full-scale use of military force in Syria has heightened tensions between Russia and the US, and the
standoff is becoming increasingly entrenched. Russia has started expanding its military operations against armed
antigovernment forces opposed to the administration of Syrian President Bashar Assad. Russia has concentrated its
airstrikes in western Syria near Tartus, home to Russias only naval port in the Middle East and a stronghold of the
Assad government. Russia claims the objective of its attacks is to wipe out the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant
(ISIL) extremist group. However, it is also being said that this move aims to support the weakened Assad
government and protect Russias own national interests. It is a self-serving action. Turkeys proposals for a no-fly
zone over the territories in northern Syria, currently controlled by moderate Syrian opposition groups, has also lost
all relevance due to these areas coming under continual attacks from Russian airstrikes.
The United States and its allies in Syria are in need of some external help and cooperating with Russia on finding a
combination of military and diplomatic measures that could curb the Islamic State would give civilians some respite
from the violence. This should be the ultimate priority for both the West and Russia.
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