Monday, October 12, 2015

Russia's Campaign Against ISIL is Efficient Since Its 'Target is Clear'

News | 12.10.2015 | 18:47
Sputnik - Making clear that Islamic extremists are the real enemy in Syria constitutes one of Russia's key accomplishments of the last two weeks, strategic analyst Paolo Raffone told Sputnik.
This makes Moscow's airstrike campaign efficient, he maintains.
"The enemy, according to the Russian strategy, is not the government of Assad but Islamic State. So the military intervention is simplifying the equation," Raffone said. Russia's major "achievement is to clarify that the alternative is either the current government or ISIL, there is nothing in between."
The airstrike campaign has already helped to change reality on the ground by helping the Damascus-led forces to push terrorists from their positions. For instance, on Monday, the Syrian military announced that large parts of the Aleppo Governorate were liberated.
Despite recent successes, it is still too early to say that the tide has turned. "For the time being we cannot say that ISIL forces are ruined. They have been put under pressure for sure but significant gains in military terms have not yet been made," the expert cautioned.
Moscow's campaign was launched on September 30 following a request from the Bashar al-Assad government. It involves providing air support for the Assad's forces during their ground offensive. However, Vladimir Putin ruled out putting Russian boots on the ground.
Raffone also commented on Washington's decision to abandon its $500 million program aimed at training and equipping moderate elements within armed Syrian opposition. He called the announcement an "embarrassment for the US and the Western coalition.
"The trick of using these moderate jihadists did not work and they had to admit it," he noted.
Tags: ISIS Russia Syria

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