Save President Assad: how Putin changed the course of the war in Syria

The Syrian issue will be central at the UN General Assembly. The Russian president is expected to make statements on expected future strategy. However, Moscow has already taken actions that changed the course of events, experts state.
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The war continues in Syria since March 2011. During this time, according to the UN, has killed more than 220 thousand. Man, and half the country's population of 11 million, have been displaced. Moscow since the beginning of the conflict refused to support the initiative of the West and the region that would allow things to develop on the "Libyan scenario." At the same time Russia has participated in the negotiations on a political settlement, including by organizing at the meeting of the Syrian opposition and the government.

This summer, for the first time since the beginning of the conflict, the Russian side has been actively building up its military presence in Syria. Russia's actions have given a respite to President Bashar al-Assad, experts say, but the answer to the question of how the situation will develop further, we must give the speech of President Vladimir Putin at the UN.

Arena clashes

Just a few weeks ago, Assad's regime was in danger: he threatened the loss of land from Latakia to Damascus, that could move under the control "Dzhebhat en-Nusra" and the so-called "Islamic state" (IG prohibited organization in Russia).

With nbeginning of bouts of participants of military operations has changed several times. Now, according to Reuters data, on the one hand, fighting the Syrian government army who joined with her "Hezbollah" and irregular armed groups. She opposed "Dzhebhat en-Nusra", "Islamic State", the Kurds and the so-called moderate rebels, including the Free Syrian Army, formed in the beginning of the conflict. Actual participants much more, they form alliances and regroup.

Under the government of the Syrian army controlled areas are located off the coast of the Mediterranean Sea - Latakia and Tartus, where the Russian point of logistics of the Navy.

Before the war in 2011, the Syrian army numbered 300 thousand. The military, but is now reduced at least by half, indicating Reuters. At the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights other data: in 2014 there were about 70 thousand people in the army..

Support for the government army soldiers have terrorist Lebanese movement "Hezbollah", also on the side of Assad's war fighters from Iran and IraqTehran also sent to Syria, his advisers. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has promised support for Assad "to the end of the road."

In recent years, the number of support forces regime is estimated at about 140 thousand. People, half of whom were Syrian army says military expert Vladimir Evseev.

In the year regime can recruit up to 25 thousand. New recruits. It is not enough to win, but rather to buy time, writes Yezidi Seig of the Carnegie Endowment. Army manage to stay mainly due to the technical advantages, in five years of fighting, she was very exhausted, and new recruits do not have time to complete a full course of study, said Yevseyev.

IG outposts, declared "the capital of the caliphate," a Syrian city of Raqqa in the north. By 2013, IG acted in the "Al-Qaeda". By the end of June, the IG men controlled almost half of the territory of Syria. This belt sparsely populated areas, stretching from the northwest to the east of the country, as well as fragments in the central part of Syria. This group most intolerant of minorities and does not recognize the firstSyria udarstvennyh borders.

The fight against the IG are not only the supporters of the Assad regime, but also to other armed groups, such as "Dzhebhat en-Nusra", is still a division of "Al-Qaeda", and indicated to Reuters, and other sources. It is this movement was the March control of part of the province of Idlib in the northwest, as well as on a number of areas in the south.

A significant part of the territory in the area of ​​Aleppo and Idlib in the northwest control Free Syrian Army. It is ranked among the moderates, as ready to guarantee the rights of minorities, including the Alawites, to which the Assad family belongs.

One of the strongest and most promising groups, opposing Assad, The New York Times says Salafist "Ahrar al-Sham", having supported the Persian Gulf monarchies. The group participated in the capture of Idlib this spring. According to The New York Times, just at this force has the ability to take a leading position in a political solution to the crisis. Its leaders claim to respect the country's borders and have recently been trying to distance himself from the fundatalistov, the newspaper writes.

North of the country along the border with Turkey Kurdish control units. Their number, according to Evseev, can reach 30 thousand. Man, controlling about 15% of the country.

About the size of this IG and other groups is difficult to speak, it indicates the expert. The media referred to the figures in the tens of thousands.

Who is fighting Russia

In summer, Putin proposed the creation of a broad front to fight terrorists in Syria. In other speeches, Putin elaborated on the threat, calling its main component is "an Islamic state". Moscow offers to unite efforts of the Syrian government, the Kurdish militias and so-called moderate opposition, as well as several countries in the region to combat the threat of the Syrian state and the most in the fight against terrorism, Putin said in mid-September.

So far, in addition to government support Moscow Assad expressed Egypt's President Abdelfattah al-Sisi, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Western countries say all the time that increase the Russian presence isyaet danger to the state of affairs in the region, but we are ready to listen to the Russian proposals. In particular, the desire to clarify Russia's position on Syria, explain the representatives of the White House decision to hold talks US President Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin during the UN General Assembly.

Against the Russian initiatives made by the Cooperation Council of Arab States of the Gulf. Minister of Foreign Affairs of Saudi Arabia, Adel al-Dzhubeyr called Russia's actions in Syria "escalation" and stressed that Syria has no future as long as Assad remains in power. Moscow's approach is still at odds with the position of Turkey, reported on the results of talks with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's press secretary, Dmitry Peskov, the Russian president.

Experts dispute and the main points put forward by Russia. Vladimir Putin said that the migratory crisis in Europe due to the fact that the Syrians are fleeing not from the regime and from the terrorists and what the terrorists are the main threat to Assad. According to the Syrian Network for Human Rights, for the time of the conflict on the actions of non-governmental forces killedof less than 4% of the total number of victims.

And in clashes between Assad forces and the IG units accounted for only 6% of all military conflicts in Syria, says the data Janes IHS in 2014. This year the figure could rise to 10-12%, predicts Emile Hawk from the British Institute for Strategic Studies.

The methods of struggle

His diplomatic offers Russia reinforced the enhanced military presence. In the summer there were reports and confirm their pictures that in the region of Tartous and Latakia were Russian soldiers, anti-aircraft and aviation equipment. Officially, the Russian side has repeatedly said that the Russian military in Syria for a long time, and their presence is due to the help of the Syrian army military bearing "the brunt of fighting terrorism." Russian troops are present in Syria, but do not fight: they work at a military base, accompanied by the supply of arms and control their intended use, the Ministry of Defense wrote in response to a parliamentary inquiry.

Russia took control of the situation and introduced heavy weapons, it is possible not only toBashar Assad relieved, now all Syrian scene may change to respond to the strengthening of the Russian expert at the Carnegie Endowment in the presence of Marc Pierini Turkish Hurriyet Daily News.

Although a final clarification of Moscow's intentions not, we can already say that, placing the aircraft and other equipment in Latakia, Moscow neutralize Ankara's plans to displace al-Assad, and has reduced to zero the possibility of invasion of the Turkish Air Force in Syria, and made impossible a full-scale foreign intervention in Syria says Pierini.

Although the ultimate goal of the presence of Russian forces is not clear, we can say that it is much: change the military balance. It can halt the decline forces Assad regime to support and strengthen his morale, but also limits the possibility of the United States and Israel in Syria, he wrote in his review of The Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

The military presence of Russia Syrian opposition forces and those who support it, take a break, since the prospect of direct conflict not with Russia, what they are looking for, believe the review authors. Another result of thison may be their desire to seek a political rather than a military solution to the conflict.