Tehran, Iran, October 3
By Mehdi Sepahvand -- Trend:
While Iran has been content with rendering military consultation to the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Russia has recently chosen to carry out airstrikes against anti-Assad groups.
Shuaib Bahman, senior researcher at Iran-Eurasia Research Center and political commentator, says despite the different practical approaches, Iran and Russia as the two major supporters of Assad follow the same objectives in Syria and Russia's new strategy is to bring major game change in the future.
In an interview with Trend on October 3, Bahman said that Russia's military cooperation with Syria is nothing new, noting that not only many Syrian officers were educated in Russia in the past, but Russia had military bases in Syria by the Mediterranean a long time ago.
The political commentator went on to count six reasons why Moscow has chosen active military presence in Syria, a summary of which follows:
1. Since the beginning of the Syrian crisis, Moscow announced they endorsed Assad and supported him. Assad is internationally recognized and still the legal president of Syria.
2. The second incentive for Russia's military action is to fight terrorism. Russia believes an instance of international terrorism has been formed in Syria, which is capable of spreading out, especially in Eurasia and northern Caucasia. This is a major concern for Moscow, especially since recently it has been announced that over 5, 000 people from Russia and north Caucasia have joined the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIL or ISIS, also known as Daesh) and other groups.
3. Russia is also preserving its traditional influence over the Middle East and the Mediterranean. Syria is the number one ally of Russia among across the Arab Middle East and Russia doesn't want to lose it.
4. Faceoff with West, especially with the United States is the fourth reason. Moscow believes the current situation in Syria and Iraq is an example of controlled chaos wreaked by the West against countries with leaders opposing them.
5. By flexing muscles in Syria, Russia is challenging the no-flight zone proposed by Turkey. Especially with regard to the current refugee crisis, it is likely that the West would chose to designate a no-fly zone in Syria to settle refugees right there, something Russia wants to prevent.
6. By showing military power Russia tries to get political advantages from West. It wants to show an upper hand in the area in order to be used at negotiation tables.
Russian jets have made 14 combats flights, conducting six pinpoint airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Syria on October 2, according to Russia's Defense Ministry.
"During the day, the Russian aviation group continued conducting pinpoint airstrikes against the infrastructure of the IS group in Syria," Defense Ministry spokesman, Igor Konashenkov, said.
In the town of Maarrat Al-Nuuman in Idlib province, a Su-25 attack aircraft completely brought down a large terrorist workshop, which was producing bombs and improvised explosive devices.
A nearby IS base, hosting weaponry and military vehicles was also targeted, with ten pieces of military hardware, including several APCs, was eliminated, the ministry said.