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Article TitleSyria Drama Continues to Unfold
SourceCurrent Digest of the Russian Press, The ,  No.43,  Vol.68, October  24, 2016, page(s):3-6
Place of PublicationMinneapolis, USA
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Syria Drama Continues to Unfold


(Editorial) - AMERICANS HAVE ACHIEVED MAIN MISSION IN SYRIA. (Nezavisimaya gazeta, Oct. 24, 2016, p. 2. Complete text:) Even if [Syrian President] Bashar Assad’s troops take Aleppo with the support of Russia’s Aerospace Forces, and even if the [US-led] coalition isn’t able to take Mosul before the US presidential election, the Americans still won’t lose. They have already achieved the basic objective: Russia is getting drawn into a war in the Middle East that will likely be prolonged and have an uncertain outcome.

If this turns into a Vietnam, great, but an Afghan scenario would be far worse: In that case, we would have to retreat from Syria with large reputational and material losses. Military support for Damascus is hitting the Kremlin’s pocketbook pretty hard as it is - and during a global political confrontation between Russia and the entire Western world.

However, war in Syria was not Russia’s choice. If the Kremlin had not pushed back against the Islamic State [of Iraq and Sham] (banned in Russia), the "Arab Spring" would already be raging in the Caucasus and Central Asia. The appearance of a Russian air base on the outskirts of Latakia did not surprise Western intelligence agencies all that much. First, Moscow’s actions were partly predictable. Second, these days it is practically impossible to conceal even preparations to deploy such a large number of aircraft. But the capabilities of modern Russian weapons (Kalibr [missile systems], Kh-101 strategic cruise missiles, etc.) and training really did surprise the West, which left Russia in the dust long ago in military-technical terms.

Moscow, too, initially overestimated the success of [its] aerospace operations in Syria. In March, [Russian President] Vladimir Putin declared that the Aerospace Forces’ "mission to fight bandits has been [generally] accomplished," and he ordered the aviation grouping at Hmeimim ...

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