Jalil Javed and Henry Kincaid
Syrian airstrikes, led by Assad’s government and the Russian Airforce, have killed IS military leaders, foreign fighters, and other militants according to the Russian MoD. The strike also targeted and destroyed command posts and ammunition stocks belonging to the militant group.
“During the last day, [a] Russian Air Force task force in Syria [targeted] Islamic State reinforcements of foreign fighters coming from Iraq to the vicinity of the town of Abu Kamal near [the] Iraq-Syria border,” the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement on Saturday.
“An airstrike near Abu Kamal destroyed Islamists’ outpost, killing some 40 militants from Tajikistan and Iraq, as well as 7 SUVs with DShK and ZU-23-2 machine guns mounted on them,” the statement went on to say.
There was a separate strike near the city of al-Mayadin in which 80 militants were killed. Accompanying airstrikes also destroyed a command center, 18 SUVs, and three ammunition depots.
TURNING THE TIDE
Almost two years ago, Russia accepted Syria’s request to help them fight US-backed rebels, and support the technically-legitimate Syrian government. This received widespread skepticism from the West. Just two years later, Russia and Syria have become a near-unstoppable force, liberating town after town from jihadis and militants.
“After two years of Russia’s military operations in Syria, it is now clear that its results have been successful both in military and political terms. Russia has turned the tide of the conflict. Russia is now playing a key role in the Syrian settlement and its influence in the Middle East is beyond any doubt,” Giampiero Venturi, Italian geopolitical analyst with the website Difesa Online, told Sputnik.
Venturi also believes that the situation in Syria undermines the importance of efforts from all nations worldwide against terrorism, especially against Daesh. Russia’s success against ISIS has changed the political and military situation in Syria, but it also sheds light on the geopolitical balance in the Middle East, a region that has been the “victim of Western political mistakes” for the last few decades.
“In 2013, [former US President Barack] Obama said, Assad’s ‘days are numbered.’ Four years have passed and Assad is still in power, and his influence on the situation in Syria is greater than several years ago. In fact, he’s winning the war and he owes that to Russia’s involvement,” the analyst said.
According to Venturi, the efforts of Russia in Syria are a prime example of how to counter terrorism. where the Russians are “effective”, whilst Americans are “wasteful” and not strong enough to get enough boots on the ground.
“Russia proved that it is possible to fight terrorism with military force. What is needed is an international alliance of countries, that would have a clear understanding of their goals,” Venturi stated.
Featured Image Credits: Getty