Year passes since Russian military operation in Syria
Russian military operation in Syria has begun on September 30, 2015, at the request of the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The resource support of terrorists has been disrupted and in some regions it has been completely terminated by blocking the main routes for hydrocarbon supplies and the main routes for weaponry and ammunition deliveries to militants.
More than 2000 illegal mercenaries from Russia, including 17 field commanders, were eliminated on the territory of Syria. Russian aviation destroyed 209 oil production, processing and fuel transfer facilities, as well as 2912 means of petroleum products delivery.
In addition to the military operation, Russia has delivered humanitarian assistance. The Russian reconciliation center in Syria has borne the brunt of the activities to cease hostilities among separate groups, supporting the armed opposition. 660 settlements and nearly 70 groups have already joined the truce, RIA Novosti reminds.
In March 2015, the Russian President Vladimir Putin made the decision to withdraw the main part of the Russian Air Forces from Syria because the main tasks have been successfully fulfilled. However, Russian aviation continues to deliver airstrikes against the militants' positions of ISIL, Jabhat al-Nusrah (both outlawed in Russia), and other terrorist organizations. The Hmeymim air base and the Russian naval facility in Tartusis are operating, as well as Pantsir-S1 and S-400 anti-aircraft systems are also on duty inn Syria.
A military observer of the TASS news agency, retired Colonel Viktor Litovkin, speaking with a correspondent of Vestnik Kavkaza, stressed that the presence of Russian forces in Syria has played a huge role in the formation of the Syrian government army, in the defense of Syria as a state and implementation of a turning point in the fight against illegal armed groups.
"We remember that a year ago, the Syrian army was demoralized and had virtually ceased to exist. Strikes against terrorists carried out by the Russian forces, such victories as the liberation of Palmyra and the roads to Raqqa and Aleppo, as well as destruction of 15 thousand terrorist facilities: control units, plants that repairs military equipment, oil vehicles, oil terminals - all this has played a huge role in improving the morale and combat capability of the Syrian army," he recalled.
For Russia, it was important to conduct the first ever large-scale military operation beyond its borders. "We have demonstrated to the whole world that the Russian army is not a colossus with feet of clay, as foreign media wrote. It was not involved in the operation, as the Soviet army in Afghanistan or the US army in Iraq, it destroyed terrorist facilities. We have proven that we have the most modern military equipment and precision-guided weapons, including Su-34, Su-35, Su-30. Cruise missiles' strikes from our submarines and rocket ships located in the Caspian sea and the Mediterranean sea were especially revealing - the world understood that Russia is able to defend itself and implement its national interests," Viktor Litovkin said.
Obtaining the Hmeymim Mediterranean base was also essential for Russia. "Prior to this, the Americans felt themselves the masters of the Mediterranean sea, there is their biggest fleet and their ships, armed with the Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense System, SM-3 missiles and Tomahawk cruise missiles, they often enter the Black Sea and hold our strategic missile forces, stationed in the Tver, Kaluga, Saratov and Ivanovo regions at gunpoint. Now, we can control the US fleet in the Mediterranean sea, and it is also a very big success of our operation in Syria," the expert drew attention.
The President of the National Strategy Institute, Mikhail Remizov, agreed that the Russian operation averted the impending collapse of the regime of Bashar al-Assad. "We have managed to stabilize the situation in military terms, slightly modifying the balance in favor of the Syrian government. At the same time, the conflict has entered the stage of positional warfare, despite the presence of many groups and fluid front lines: Syria is now divided into control zones, and its lower part is controlled by the Syrian government. That is, Russia has prevented the collapse of Assad's regime, but has not provided an undisputed predominance on the battlefield and a strong negotiating position," he pointed out.
The expert also named among this year's outcome in Syria the demonstration of the ability of the Russian army and the Russian leadership to intervene effectively into military conflicts. "This strengthens Russia's position as an international player. At the same time, we were involved in a protracted conflict in the position when both the United States and regional powers supporting jihadists in Syria and the opposition, are applying pressure on us. The vulnerable zone, which our opponents are trying to use, is associated with the risk of large losses, and we have no clear response to this pressure. Strengthening of our presence in order to achieve military objectives in Aleppo is fraught with costs and losses, while maintaining the status quo is fraught with the loss of our goals in this conflict," Mikhail Remizov warned.
"The problem is that at some point it may be unclear what exactly we want to achieve there. Therefore, now Russia and the United States see the conflict in Syria primarily in terms of finding a solution to get out of it and save their reputation. The pre-election situation in the US is contributing to increased pressure on the Russian Federation and the injection of the anti-Russian agenda to weaken Trump's position and strengthen Clinton's position. Therefore, we should not expect any compromises to get out of the conflict and save our reputation before the US elections. Now it is too early to predict anything," the expert concluded.