According to media reports, Russia has decided to withdraw large numbers of its troops from Syria. According to Russian President Vladimir Putin, the forces have achieved their main goal in Syria and he is now interested in a peace process with Syrian President Bashar al Assad and other rebel groups. Despite ending its military campaign, Russia will continue its support for Al Assad, whose future role is the main bone of contention between the government and rebel groups.
The second round of Geneva talks are to start in Geneva in coming days, including the Syrian government and opposition. Russia’s air campaign and motives raise several questions in every mind. At the start of its air campaign, Russia assured the world community that it would target extremist groups like Al Nusrah and the Islamic State (IS), but in reality Russia has frequently targeted other Western-backed rebel groups. As a result of Russian air strikes, several thousand people have had to leave their homes and Turkey is facing a new wave of migrants form Aleppo and other parts of Syria.
The reality is that the Russian air campaign has only benefited Al Assad’s brutal regime. Thanks to the Russian air campaign, Assad’s forces obtained major gains in strong rebel-held areas. Despite several days of air campaign, however, IS still has a strong position in its stronghold, Raqqa, and Al Nusrah is still operating in several parts of Syria. Killing of innocent civilians and targeting of mosques, schools, markets and civilian residential areas have added a black chapter to Russian history.
Khawaja Umer Farooq
Jeddah, Saudi Arabia