Russia is maker of exceptions in the Syrian war
No one can deny that the outcomes of this war exhausted the Syrian state and peoples. However, taking the situation of the Syrian state after a 9-year war into consideration, one might be amazed at its resilience, preventing a comprehensive collapse of its main structures, especially the military or at least its economy.
Speaking of the 9-year war, the normal outcome might have been a collapse and an inevitable weakness of the state. However, the exception that astonished the warring states directly and indirectly in the Syrian war is that such a collapse did not happen despite all acts that aimed to exercise pressure on the Syrian state in all economic, political, military and even social aspects. On the contrary, the Syrian war had a main turn when the Syrian state regained control over more than 60% of Syrian soil that had been out of control of the Syrian state during the war, especially main cities such as Aleppo, the economic capital of Syria. This turn extended to the extent at which the Syrian army beseiged the militants in Idlib after they had been deployed in different Syrian cities and areas.
The support Russia gave to Syria played a major role in the endurance of the Syrian state with all its political, service, and military institutions. Russian Syrian relations are not the fruit of the previous years but rather very old and date back to 70 years old. Syria is the main ally to Russia in the Middle East. Both countries stood their ground against the US ambitions in the region and its constant attempts to step into Syria and the Levant throughout those years.
Before the Syrian war, the US could not intervene into the Syrian affairs neither diplomatically nor by setting bases in Syria as the case in the Gulf states is. The US has always been an enemy to Syria because of its ambitions and the use of its power to exercise pressure on the Arab countries to serve its own interests. The Palestinian issue and the US support to the “Israeli” occupation are one of the main reasons behind the Syrian American enmity.
As the Syrian war broke out, the US exploited one of the warring parties which is the Kurdish troops, providing them with massive support in return for entering the Syrian soil into the areas under their control. SDF are the first facilitator and main reason behind the US entrance to Syria for the first time in decades.
At this point, historic Russian Syrian alliance emerged with a clear Russian stance that disclosed how the US falsely claimed to achieve stability in Syria. Russia disclosed the conspiracy plotted against Syria since the start of the war. The US aimed to occupy Syria, just like it did in Iraq, and set a political structure that obeys the US orders.
Russian support was massive with its military, political and economic forms. Russia was the first mediator among the warring parties and the guarantor of several agreements, from the armed groups surrender to the coordination of agreements in relation with service institutions that are concerned with the citizens’ lives directly.
One of the most important roles Russia played during the Syrian war in the field of agreements and mediations is its role when Syrian state regained control over the cities of Aleppo and Homs. Both cities had a large number of militants against the Syrian state but who belonged to mild non-terrorist organizations. Aleppo was divided into two parts. The eastern part was under the control of militants and the western part remained under the control of the Syrian state.
When the Syrian army regained control over both cities, Russia guaranteed the armed groups would deliver their weapons and surrender to the Syrian state to settle down their situations. Russian mediation brought both sides together to restore stability in those important cities. Aleppo is the economic capital of Syria and Homs lies in the geographical heart of Syria that connects the Syrian governorates together.
The same happened in Eastern Ghouta in Damascus countryside. After the Syrian army advanced in large areas in the vast Ghouta, Russia coordinated and ensured all areas of Ghouta came back under the control of the Syrian state and that the militants delivered their weapons so that Damascus would live a complete stability of the military situations and life reverted to normal in the countryside areas.
Russian military power was clear throughout the years of war, especially when Russia participated with Syria in facing not only terrorist organizations or armed groups but also big states that supported these organizations with arms and forces. In this war, Russia and Syria face not only armed groups but also armies of European and Arab countries that are affiliated with the US under the name of “international coalition” let alone their direct confrontation with the Turkish army. The Syrian conflict cannot be simply described as an internal conflict but it is no doubt a conflict between big countries and a regional war whose outcomes are reflected on the international community at large.
The conflict of the big countries, in which Russia and Syria fought against the US and Turkish ambitions in the first place, emerged clearly in the direct confrontation that happened in the battles in the countrysides of Aleppo and Idlib between the Turkish army. Both Russian and Syrian armies, especially after the failure the militants suffered because of the terrorist organizations last year, made Turkey reveal its real intentions and directly intervene and advance to take control over parts of the Syrian territories. In turn, Russia along with the Syrian army repelled the most violent direct confrontations, causing huge losses to the Turkish army. The confrontations ended up with the Syrian army securing Aleppo City, liberating parts of its northern and western countryside, reopening Aleppo-Damascus Highway and liberating the areas on which the highway lies in Idlib countryside.
Russia has always been ready to face attacks on the Syrian territories if needed. Nevertheless, peaceful solutions that aim to restore stability in Syria, are the first choice even when previous experiences proved that the terrorist armed groups do not abide or even want to abide by peaceful solutions that are based on the integrity and sovereignty of the Syrian state.
With its diplomatic and military efforts, Russia prevented several military operations of Turkey against the Syrian territories. As mentioned earlier, there have been several confrontations and direct advancement of the Turkish army into the Syrian territories. Russia encountered this advancement and subjected the Turkish false powers to the Russian and Syrian armies.
Russia exerted diplomatic efforts to save face of the Turkish army before the international community. Russia approved of Erdogan’s request to be the mediator and carry out the ceasefire agreement in Idlib and conduct joint Russian Turkish patrols on Aleppo-Lattakia Highway so that it could later be opened. As for the Russian veto, we can recall how the Syrian peoples celebrated every time Russian representative would raise his hand to prevent a draft resolution in the UN against Syria that aimed to decimate the country and legalize its occupation by the countries in control of the council.