After most of Russia’s Aerospace Defense Forces were withdrawn from Syria, the situation in the country began to change rapidly. The «New Syrian Army» was created on the Jordanian border, consisting of Kurds and Arabs under the command of American instructors. This is a fairly powerful, well-equipped group, tasked with laying siege to Raqqa, the «capital of the Islamic State», from the east.
Another Kurdish-Arab army, the Lions of Rojava, is advancing on Raqqa from the Turkish border in the north. It is led by Americans wearing Kurdish military uniforms.
At almost the same time, Turkish army tanks crossed the Syrian border and embedded themselves in those regions through which ammunition, food, and fresh manpower travel on their way to the IS raiders lodged in Aleppo. According to the Russian General Staff, trucks are bringing weapons and ammunition from Turkey to the Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist group, and this influx of supplies is continuing.
This is why the Syrian army, fatigued by war, is losing the offensive edge that could be seen when it was conducting joint operations with Russia’s Aerospace Defense Forces. There has been no expansion of the boundaries of the area around Palmyra that is under government control, and there are no longer any immediate plans to take the city of Deir ez-Zor, which was to have followed Palmyra. The previous delicate balance is beginning to tip against Damascus, due to the influx of fresh forces from Turkey.
It is starting to seem like American diplomacy in Syria is trying to draw Russia into the next round of negotiations about what turned out to be a sham ceasefire, because anti-government forces continue to regroup, and the armed gangs that allegedly belong to the moderate opposition continue to launch ceaseless attacks on government troop positions.
Sergey Lavrov spoke by telephone with US Secretary of State John Kerry and demanded in no uncertain terms that the Turkish-Syrian border be closed. In addition, the minister insisted that Washington fulfill its promise that the Syrian opposition groups backed by the Americans would disassociate themselves from the Jabhat al-Nusra terrorists. But these negotiations are unlikely to change anything. The Americans will not cooperate with Russia’s goals. But even if the Americans wanted to, how could they force Turkey to alter its military policy?
There has not been the slightest indication that Washington really wants to join efforts with Moscow in the battle against IS. The Americans are only happy that the Syrian army has been weakened, and they are once again emphasizing the «unacceptability of Bashar al-Assad».
With the assistance of the Kurds, the US continues to construct a stronghold from which they can later begin to redraw Syria’s borders. The emergence in northern Syria of an independent Kurdish republic under American protectorate will set the perfect stage for a policy of «divide and rule», and then we can all forget about any hope for a peaceful political solution. The reality will be quite the opposite – the people of Syria will be assured a never-ending war. Erdogan will never accept independence for the Kurds under any conditions, and this will precipitate bloody new confrontations.
Washington is calculating that once a large part of Russia’s Aerospace Defense Forces pull out of Syria, Damascus will not be able to withstand a drawn-out military campaign. US policymakers imagine that once Assad’s army has been weakened, the «moderate opposition» backed by Washington will be able to bring about regime change in Syria. However, this is only possible if the Aerospace Defense Forces do not return to the Syrian theater of war. Otherwise their plan will fall flat.
The Americans are now doing all they can to ensure that this does not happen. Endless promises and assurances pass through diplomatic channels, and every effort is being made to keep Moscow from taking decisive action and to prevent a repeat of last year, when the defeat of the IS terrorists seemed near at hand.
Moscow, for its part, is acting in accordance with formal diplomatic procedures, but very soon Russia will issue its final demand to end this farce of a «peaceful settlement». And when this demand gets no response, the Aerospace Defense Forces will return to Syria. President Putin mentioned this possibility when he greeted Russian pilots after the completion of the first phase of the Syrian operation.
It looks like a second phase is inevitable.
One can only guess what will happen to the Turkish soldiers who have already entrenched themselves inside Syria and who definitely should not be there if the Russian bombardment resumes.