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27 Jun, 2019 20:37

Russia accomplished more than it expected in Syria – Putin

Russia accomplished more than it expected in Syria – Putin

Russia intervened in Syria to prevent “Libya-style chaos” and protect its own security, unwilling to tolerate Islamic State terrorists on its doorstep, President Vladimir Putin said in an interview

The decision to send an expeditionary force to back the government in Damascus in September 2015 was taken after careful deliberations and analysis of potential risks and rewards, Putin told the Financial Times on Wednesday. 

“I decided that the positive effect from our active involvement in Syrian affairs for Russia and the interests of the Russian Federation would far outweigh non-interference and passive observation of how an international terrorist organization grows ever stronger near our borders,” Putin said.

Primarily … we have managed to preserve Syrian statehood, no matter what, and we have prevented Libya-style chaos there.

Not only has the intervention led to the stabilization of Syria and the defeat of IS (also known as ISIS), it had other positive effects that have far exceeded expectations. The entire region has moved towards stability, while Moscow established “very good, business-like, partner-like and largely allied relations” with other regional powers such as Iran and Turkey.

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On the domestic side of things, “several thousand” militants from the former Soviet Union who joined IS were eliminated, along with the danger they posed to Russian security. The Russian military gained invaluable practical experiences during the fighting, that could not be obtained from peacetime training exercises.

I believe that it has been a good and positive return. We have accomplished even more than I had expected.

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Russia is “perfectly aware” of the situation in Syria, including the internal reasons for the conflict that should be dealt with. But that is upon everyone there to resolve, not just President Bashar Assad.

Asked if he was committed to Assad staying in power, Putin said the people of Syria should decide their own future.

When we discussed this matter only recently with the previous US administration, we said, suppose Assad steps down today, what will happen tomorrow? You cannot even imagine how funny it was. They said, “We don’t know.” But when you do not know what happens tomorrow, why shoot from the hip today? 

Russia, he said, prefers to “look at problems thoroughly from all possible angles and not to be in any hurry.”

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