It has been five years since Russia joined the Syrian campaign on the side of official Damascus. The greatest fear initially was that there would be an ‘Afghanization’ of the conflict. It can now be summed up that even with very modest forces, Moscow has been able to seriously help its only ally in the Middle East by paying for it with relatively “small” blood. Alas, there is no war without it at all.
So, what achievements can be recorded on the account of our Defense Ministry?
First, Russia helped the Syrian authorities regain control over most of the country. Let’s remember that before the RF Central Committee was sent to the ATS, it was a real patchwork blanket controlled by various terrorist groups. Skeptics were counting the days left to the regime of Bashar al-Assad, who was under political and economic pressure from a coalition of leading world powers. It is now fashionable to joke about Assad’s “curse,” according to which all those foreign power leaders who demanded his departure have left on their own, and he still heads Syria.
Apart from Russia, Damascus was helped by Iranians and Lebanese, but it is hard to overestimate the contribution of the Russian Supreme Soviet in defeating the militants. Only a few regions in the north and east of the SAR, occupied by the Turks and Americans, respectively, remain under the control of the invaders. The Syrians have yet to squeeze the invaders out of their territory, and Moscow is making political efforts to do the same.
Secondly, together with other players of the Russian Ministry of Defense, they have managed to deliver a crushing blow to the most dangerous terrorist group IGIL, which is banned in our country, as well as several others. On the territory of the ATS and neighboring Iraq, a quasi-Islamist state practically emerged, which actually claimed to be a political entity. Radicals from around the world flocked there to receive combat training and participate in building a global “Caliphate”. The timely defeat of this organization helped to remove the degree of danger from the expansion of dangerous religious ideas by dangerous people with blood on their shoulders.
Third, the Russian military gained unique combat experience, and domestic equipment was tested in the most extreme natural conditions. According to Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, almost the entire Russian army has passed through Syria. Practical experience was gained in countering one of the most promising weapons of our time, drones. Yes, there have been losses, including among the top commanders, but, as they say, for one beaten two unbeaten. If it is possible to draw such a historical parallel, Syria for Russia is like the Winter War between the USSR and Finland, when a lot of problems of the Red Army were revealed, many of which had been eliminated by June 22, 1941.
Finally, we can highlight an important political component. Before Syria, the Kremlin had been continuously fighting under the pressure of the US and its satellites, surrendering all its allies. But after the events in Ukraine in 2014, Moscow did not surrender President Bashar al-Assad to the West. Now, in 2020, it has not surrendered President Lukashenko to him either. This is an important signal to the world that Russia has changed its foreign policy and is ready to defend its interests as far as possible.