InoPressa. «Unthinkable» the success of Russia in Syria and disrupted peace talks

The delegation of the Syrian opposition ahead of schedule and hastily left Geneva — will she be able to come back with strong cards in hand? The attack on Aleppo Assad’s elite troops under the cover of Russian fighters destroyed the already fragile plans of negotiators, the media are writing. Today, the Kremlin is sure that the largest after the collapse of the Soviet Union foreign military campaign of Moscow pays for the effort.

«Crucial negotiations for peace in Syria collapsed a few days after commencement: special envoy of the UN has suspended them in the hope that world powers will do more to improve the conditions on the ground,» reports Eric Solomon in The Financial Times.

Government forces surrounded by rebel territory in the countryside around Aleppo, and this week it was inflicted more than 270 airstrikes, the article says. Western diplomats expected that Russia will try to force the Assad government to negotiate, however, the last occurrence, probably indicates that they miscalculated.

Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov said: «the Application by Russia of airstrikes will not be terminated until we really don’t defeat a terrorist organization such as ISIS (an organization banned in Russia. — Approx. ed.), «Dzhabhat EN Nusra» and similar groups. I see no reason to stop air strikes».

U.S. officials and Syrian opposition activists accuse Russia that it bombed mainly moderate rebel groups, reminds the edition.

According to The Wall Street Journal, from the point of view of the U.S. state Department, the Geneva negotiations for a peaceful settlement in Syria, «were suspended partly due to the ongoing Russian airstrikes aimed against opposition forces near Aleppo and disrupting the delivery of humanitarian aid». According to the UN envoy on Syria, Staffan de Mistura, the talks will resume on 25 February.

Spokesman of the state Department John Kirby said: «We call on Russia to concentrate its military power in the on DAYS Syria (ISIS), and not the opposition and not innocent civilians… No military solution to the Syrian conflict, and attempts to find him, only make a peaceful settlement more difficult to achieve, they are pulling us backwards.»

The authors comment: «From the outset of negotiations, diplomats are skeptical about the chances of the two urgent demands of the opposition: to provide humanitarian organizations access to the tortured civilian population and to provide at least a partial ceasefire by the forces of the regime and their henchmen. None of these goals does not look achievable in the near future.»

«The conference is not terminated, it is transferred», — quotes the words of Staffan de Mistura, the Italian La Stampa. Then followed the attack: «Lord of lords, come to an agreement».

«The attack on Aleppo Assad’s elite troops under cover from the air of Russian fighter planes destroyed the fragile plans of the negotiators who were trying to solve the tangle of counter veto over the presence at the conference of one or another group,» writes the correspondent.

«It is our duty, said de Mistura, is to give an answer to the civilian population, and I saw no progress in Syria, no slowdown of hostilities». The UN envoy did not name the guilty or responsible for the situation, but warned that «all involved in this process, should assist».

De Mistura said that he was not disappointed and retains the confidence and morale: «If no results, need to dig deeper, this is what we get, transferring a conference, need to be confident and also be realistic». Now the ball is on the side of the major players.

Today, de Mistura will probably come to London for a conference of donor countries to meet some of the powerful and to contact them with a request to act, the article says.

«Russia has been unthinkable in the Syrian conflict» — so titled its material is Die Welt columnist Alfred Hackensberger.

«We can’t sit here and negotiate, while at home bomb and starve civilians,» — said shortly before his withdrawal from negotiations, the chief negotiator of the Syrian opposition, Mohammed Alloush. Thus, the peace talks in Geneva, barely begun, already failed, the article says, though, Staffan de Mistura tried to calm everyone down by saying that this is just a «pause».

The special envoy of the UN faced with insurmountable contradictions, said the journalist: the opposition has declared that a mandatory condition for negotiations would be the cessation of air strikes and a lifting of the blockade on rebel-controlled areas. The Syrian government missed a convoy of 17 trucks with humanitarian aid to the besieged suburb of the Syrian capital al-tal, «but on the termination of bombardments of the question — on the contrary, on Monday, Russia began a massive air support to the advancing Syrian troops in the North of Aleppo».

As a result, the opposition ahead of schedule and hastily left the talks. «Then the question arises, can he ever go back to Geneva with such a strong position as it is now?» — the author writes.

The Syrian army thanks to the Russian air force took three years of the siege of two Shiite towns — Nobel and AZ-Zahra. «This military success, which could have serious implications for the outcome of the civil war in Syria,» — emphasizes Hackensberger. This breakthrough also cut one of the main supply routes of the rebels — through the gate Bab El Salama border with Turkey: this road carried food and fuel for the entire Aleppo and Idlib province. «Now rebel province faces a deficit of gasoline with the most fatal consequences», — the journalist notes.

The food so far will continue — it is through the last controlled by rebels of the Syrian-Turkish border checkpoint of Bab al-Hawa. But the return of this CAT is the next target of the Syrian army.

«The Russian military operation, — is spoken further, it could bring victory to Damascus or at least to seriously improve its position on new negotiations. The rebels may oppose not much, even with the supply of weapons from its allies, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. Russia returns the Syrian regime on the path of winners». In 2011, when the Syrian revolution began, it seemed completely unthinkable, concludes Hackensberger.

«Today, four months after the start of air strikes in Syria, the Kremlin is sure that the largest after the collapse of the Soviet Union foreign military campaign of Moscow pays for the effort,» says the journalist of The Washington Post Andrew Roth. President Obama previously warned that Russia is stepping into a «quagmire», that is risking to get bogged down in Syria, the USSR in Afghanistan.

But in a situation where Assad’s forces are advancing, and negotiations in Geneva two days after the start ended after mutual accusations, the Kremlin sees no special reason for the collapse of the campaign.

«Putin can afford the game of geopolitical chess in the middle East, because it is cheap,» says Moscow analyst Konstantin von Eggert. Intervention in the Syrian conflict has enabled Putin to deal with the proposed U.S. policy for regime change, to flaunt military power and to reassure regional allies that Moscow is their true partner. But, in the opinion of Eggert and others, the ultimate goal of Russia in Syria is unclear.

«This is a limited war, which actually has no effect in Russia», said Russian journalist Maksim Shevchenko. «There is no flow of coffins, he explained. There is nothing even comparable to Donetsk».

According to the reporter, Russia’s intervention in Syria is more a tool of diplomacy than war.

Stephen Simon (Middle East Institute), believes that the Russian intervention was consolidated and stabilized the Syrian regime. According to him, is now the official face of Washington «understands that the options and ambitions of the Syrian opposition inevitably narrowed».


The threat to peace is increasing (The Washington Times)

A new Russian base in Syria (The Washington Times)

Translation InoPressa

InoPressa. «Unthinkable» the success of Russia in Syria and disrupted peace talks 04.02.2016

Февраль 4th, 2016 by
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