According to a Reuters source close to the Russian armed forces, “while there is some frustration by the actions of Syrian troops, especially at the beginning [of the Russian operation in Syria] they came in very slowly.”
According to the Director of the Carnegie Moscow center Dmitri Trenin, “so far, we have been hearing reports that government forces took control of certain towns, there were some notable successes, but these successes are of a tactical nature and not very impressive.”
As Trenin notes, “if government forces taking control of Aleppo, it will be a big psychological help for Assad and will please the Kremlin.”
In the last few years Aleppo is partially controlled by government forces, partly by opponents of Assad.
Reuters also cites the opinion of “diplomats and analysts” about the fact that the capture of Aleppo would allow Putin to get closer to its objective of preserving friendly to Russia of the Assad government, which will allow Moscow to keep a military base.
Reuters notes that in recent times Russia is increasing its forces in Syria. According to Stepan Goncharov, a sociologist from the Levada center, “military victory in Aleppo would be a great time of the demonstration of power, it would be used to increase the support of the authorities”.
At the end of January in Geneva were to commence negotiations on conflict settlement in Syria with the participation of representatives of the authorities and the opposition, but this did not happen — the talks were postponed until February 25. On 3 February the foreign Minister of France Laurent Fabius blamed the suspension of negotiations in Geneva, the Assad government and its allies.
According to the U.S. Department of state, the postponement of the negotiations could be the Russian air force strikes near Aleppo.
Press Secretary of Russian President Dmitry Peskov on Friday, February 5, called incorrect statement about the collapse of the talks because of Russia’s actions in Syria. “It is a view which we believe is incorrect. We are not able to agree with him” — he said, commenting on reports that the inter-Syrian negotiations in Geneva had to be postponed at the end of February because of Russian aid to the Assad government and armed forces.
5 February, the Prime Minister of Turkey, Ahmet Davutoglu stated that the Syrian-Turkish border came 15 thousand refugees from Aleppo and the town “destroyed, and Mosul”. He claims that the Syrians are leaving the city due to the onset of the Syrian army, with Russian support from the air.