ISTANBUL – The Russian military intervention in Syria has led to a very intricate pattern of alliances in the Middle East and world, and caused a further complication to the situation of the war-torn country.
Russia, China, Iran and Shiite militias of Lebanese Hezbollah and Iraqi Abu Fadl al-Abbas have been supporting the Assad regime in Syria for years, whether directly or indirectly, politically or militarily.
On the other hand, anti-Assad rebels are seemingly supported by the U.S., Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar among others.
Russia.. The Real Assad Ally
The Assad regime and its allied militias are now militarily backed by Russia, one of the world’s greatest powers.
Russia’s initial claim for its intervention in Syria was fighting terrorism, thus striking militants of the Islamic State (ISIS). However, several reports from the ground confirmed the opposite of Russia’s allegations.
The long-term supporter of the Syrian regime is now striking the moderate rebel groups instead of ISIS, according to local sources in Idlib, Homs, and Aleppo.
Western critics emphasized that the Russian intervention is mainly aimed at weakening anti-Assad moderate rebels, rather than hitting ISIS in Syria.
Iran’s Tone Over Syria Has Softened
As a significant military ally, Tehran rejects any suggestion about Assad stepping down. It has provided him with military equipment, advisers and Revolutionary Guards’ commanders, along with the allied Lebanese Shiite group of Hezbollah.
However, the tone of Iran has declined after four years of bloody war in the country, coupled with the powerful intervention of Russia in Syria.
Moscow is believed to have become the mastermind of the military operations on ground through its strong presence in Syria’s airspace.
U.S. Position On Russia’s Intervention
Washington strongly opposes the Assad regime but has not taken serious steps to ensure its downfall. The U.S.-led coalition was formed to bomb positions of ISIS and other extremist groups such as al-Qaeda-affiliated al-Nusra Front, but has never targeted pro-Assad forces.
Furthermore, the U.S. has trained and equipped a small group of Syrian moderate rebels to fight ISIS on the ground.
Also, the U.S.-led coalition has recently started supporting the Kurdish forces fighting ISIS in northern Syria with an air cover.
Turkey’s Declining Position
Turkey, a NATO member, has shown its strong opposition to Assad by supporting his opponents.
Ankara backs a range of moderate and Islamist anti-Assad rebel factions, including al-Nusra Front.
Noteworthy, Turkey’s support to Nusra has angered some regional and international powers, since the group is openly affiliated with al-Qaeda terror organization.
However, the Turkish position on the Syrian conflict has recently declined due to its internal conflict with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
Saudi Arabia’s Current Priority is Yemen
Saudi Arabia has repeatedly demanded Assad to leave power as a first step towards solution in Syria.
Saudi authorities have been backing a range of Islamist Syrian opposition fighters for years, beside the participation in the U.S.-led coalition’s airstrikes against ISIS in Syria.
The Saudi role has recently declined in Syria because of the fight on its border with Yemen, which is encountering an internal conflict between the supporters of President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi and the Iran-backed Houthi militants.
Amid the dramatic developments in Syria and the involvement of various regional and international powers, at the top of them Russia and the U.S., the war-torn country is seemingly walking towards a state divided into sectarian and ethnic regions.
Source: ARA News
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