Andrey Kortunov, Director General of the Russian International Affairs Council, suggested that Russian bases in Syria give Moscow an additional tool of influence.
“Infrastructure and the ability to resume the operation if necessary – not even in a few days but within a few hours – objectively strengthens Russia’s position in the settlement of the Syrian crisis and in the Middle East as a whole. Of course, we hope that we will not have to use this opportunity, but we also know that in Syria – and especially around Syria – there are forces that are not interested in the settlement and will try to disrupt the current ceasefire with fighting because their interests are not about peace in this region,” the expert said.
According to him, Islamic state has suffered significant damage losing much of the opportunity to continue its activities in Syria. Thus, in particular, terrorist command centers, infrastructure, and once smooth-running mechanisms of illegal oil trade suffered a serious blow.
“The Russian operation has also become an additional catalyst, contributing to the beginning of a new cycle of political dialogue for the settlement of the Syrian conflict. It became possible to bring the parties together in some degree. The fact that the ceasefire agreement is in force, less people are killed and there is no humanitarian disaster, which was a real threat just 2–3 months ago, is a great achievement,” Andrey Kortunov said.
From his point of view, Russian campaign is “quite an impressive demonstration of the capabilities and power” of the country.
“Russia has managed to hold a large-scale and effective operation thinking of the number of sorties, bombing and the practical results that have been achieved. These facts, of course, will be taken into account by all the major parties of the Syrian conflict,” the head of the Russian International Affairs Council said.
However, according to him, the settlement of the conflict is a complex multi-step process.
“This includes series of questions that will be probably solved gradually. The main thing today is that there is some positive dynamics,” Andrey Kortunov concluded.