Five strategic benefits of Russia's military operations in Syria

China Military Online
Li Jiayao

BEIJING, Sept. 14 (ChinaMil) -- The Russian defense ministry released news on September 8 that Russian military forces in Syria recently destroyed a command station of the extremist organization Islamic State(IS) and killed four important leaders including its "defense minister".

Previously the Russian Aerospace Force helped the Syrian government forces to attack Deir al-Zor, an important stronghold of IS in eastern Syria, and more than 70 extremists were killed or injured in the air strike launched by the Russian troops.

The Russian troops have been in Syria for two years. Their military operations in Syria have not only accelerated the disruption of IS, but also gained Russia many strategic benefits, including the initiative in the struggle against the U.S. and Europe.

Strengthen its military presence in the Middle East

At the invitation of the legitimate Syrian government to help fight the extremist terrorist organization, Russia's dispatch of troops to Syria realized its goal of returning to the Middle East after the Cold War, and gathered the armed forces of the Russian Federation in the south of NATO, thus fundamentally breaking the strategic containment of it.

In addition to the persistent and fruitful anti-terrorist efforts in Syria, Russia also provided humanitarian aid there and helped local residents to return to normal life, and shape a righteous image for itself.

Besides, Russian has signed agreements with Syrian governments, whereby Russia obtained the long and free use right of the Hmaymim Military Airport and Tartous port, giving it a greater say in Middle East affairs.

Change its passive situation in struggle against the US and Europe

Russia's military operations in Syria diverted American and Europe's attention from the Ukraine issue to the anti-terrorist issue in the Middle East to a certain degree. Russia also tightened its ties with Turkey to successfully divide the NATO and Turkey apart gradually, and its consistent and staunch support to the Syrian government forced western countries represented by the US to stop making the stepping down of Bashar al-Assad the precondition for solving the Syria issue.

On that basis, Russia also forced the US and Europe to coordinate with it about the anti-terrorist operations in Syria and cooperate in preventing air accidents and ensuring the airspace security in Syria.

Wage an international tough stance of anti-terrorist efforts

At the beginning of its operations, Russia initiated to set up an anti-terrorist information center comprising Syria, Iran and Iraq.

The consistent and intensive air strikes by Russia forced IS to desert its occupied areas and many of its members fled, casting the U.S.-led international alliance into the shade and forcing it to adjust its anti-terrorist policy and step up relevant efforts.

Reinforce the anti-terrorist cohesion of the CIS and CSTO

The Commonwealth of the Independent States(CIS) and Collective Security Treaty Organization(CSTO) are two major regional organizations led and relied on by Russia and the priority of priorities in Russia's diplomatic relation.

The results achieved by Russia in the anti-terrorist operations in Syria have further consolidated the organizations' resolve to combat terrorism through united efforts.

The Summit of the CSTO held in October 2016, and passed its development strategy before 2025, released a unified list of terrorist organizations for all member states, and decided to set up the crisis response center and strengthen the cooperation with Russia in anti-terrorism.

Raise its international standing and support rate interiorly

Russia's military operations in Syria bolstered the confidence of local people to fight against terrorism, demonstrated its national and military strength, and raised its international standing.

Since Russia launched military operations in Syria, a lot of political figures from the U.S. and Europe have proactively coordinated stance and sought cooperation with it concerning with bilateral relations and major international and regional issues.

From the retrieval of Crimea and the dispatch of anti-terrorist troops to Syria, Putin and his administration have enjoyed rising popularity and support. Russia's Levada Center conducted a survey showed that the Russian society's satisfaction rate with Putin's work has remained above 80% since May 2014.

By Yu Haikuan and Zhu Changsheng from the PLA Academy of Military Science


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