Russia’s next step in Syria

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The rocket strikes of Russia’s Caspian Fleet might be perceive as the most dramatic phase of Syrian intervention. Russian made SS-N-Kalibr missile rockets flew more than 1500 km over Iraq and Iran before hitting targets in Syria. What is the main intention of Russia by launching long-range rockets from Caspian Sea?

By such means Russia is intended not only to show its wilingness to thraw back ISIL as well as oposition forces but also show growing influence and capability of Caspian military fleet in this region. Taking into consideration that Russian intervention includes Iran (another Caspian country), other regional countries could not stay apart of the process anymore. İt is difficult to say whether the rockets hit targets or not, but the fact is clear that air strikes against ISIL and other terrorist organizations are not enough, as we see the results of long term air operations led by US, France and United Kingdom.

The real reason behind rocket hits is demonstration of new Russian weaponry and equipment to NATO countries. İt is necessary to acknowledge that, the muscle demonstration really achieved its goal and pushed Turkey, US and leading NATO members to take an adequate reaction. But still Russian military power compare to U.S Navy forces in the Mediterranean sea is not so significant.

Most probably Russia is willilng to become a part of international coalition against global terrorism and its growing military activity on the eve of forthcoming G-20 summit is something more than a simple coincidence. Russian Ministry of Defence staated that official Moscow is ready for cooperation against ISIL threat. Seems to be like, president V. Putin tries to avoid those ignorance, which he faced during the latest G-20 summit in Australia. That’s why, he shows the capability of the military power in Syria.

According to several assumptions, Syrian governmental troops would take back part of territories they lost in last one year, within the military support of Russia and Iran. But, it will strengthen the tensions between Russia and the West. However, Russia aimed to support Assad as the ISIS and Nusra front are the only alternatives for Syria instead of current regime. Therefore, Russia most probably would underline the necessity of Assad’s regime for the future of region and thus pushing on U.S to negotiate over the problem in order to keep Assad in the power.

Russian military jets are bombing not only ISIS targets, but only targets of opposition forces, mainly Free Syrian Army. The first bombs hit FSA targets, not ISIS. Bombing of opposition forces by Russia, concerns another regional power – Turkey, which is quite reluctant in cooperation with Moscow against ISIS. Taking into account tie cooperation on energy policy between Moscow and Ankara, such a new challenge definitely will affect the bilateral relations. In particular, when Russian jets twice violated Turkish airspace, while Turkey is pushing for an effort to establish non-fly zone in Syria in order to secure its southern borders.

However. Ankara is ready to close eyes to Russian gamble in Syria because of energy cooperation, as Turkey seeks to become an energy hub. As it mentioned above, air strikes carrying by Russia are not enough to defeat the Islamic State as we saw the same in the light of U.S and France. Russia launched air strikes within the support of Assad’s ground troops, as well as Iran and Hezbollah because it pretty much sure that, the operation may fail very soon, so official Moscow has not so much time left in order to pursue the West to cooperate with her against global terrorism.