West presses Vladimir Putin’s decision to begin the withdrawal of troops from Syria were totally unexpected, and analysts and journalists strongly emphasized in its columns. According to the Wall Street Journal, it was a surprise to U.S. authorities. But still, emphasizes the publication, in Washington knew about this step of the Kremlin.
According to the newspaper’s sources in Washington, in the last time “it was clear that Russian troops did not produce the rotation of vehicles — tanks, planes and artillery — between their bases in Syria”. Otherwise it would indicate plans long-term military presence.
Analytical publication Politico also recalls a recent interview of Barack Obama to the portal The Atlantic, where the US President once again reiterated his view that Russia in Syria has gone too far and risks becoming mired in a bog.
“Since the annexation of Crimea two years ago, Putin has repeatedly confounded American analysts who, to the chagrin of Obama, failed to predict the steps the Russian leader,” writes Politico. Putin’s words, reminds the edition, often with deeds, and left to wonder when Russia will take the bulk of the contingent. Politico does not exclude that one of the reasons the Kremlin was exactly the fear to get into the “morass of conflict”.
The WSJ sources in European diplomacy argue: in recent weeks, the Russian space forces have intensified attacks on the positions of the “Islamic state” (ISIS, prohibited in Russia terrorist group) because prior to that successfully helped Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad to weaken the armed opposition. Now Western diplomats fear that the Kremlin will make US “an offer you can’t refuse”: to work together to combat Islamic extremism, referring to the tacit support of the Assad regime.
In addition, an unnamed expert, analytical center Eurasia Group told WSJ that the decision of Putin on the withdrawal of troops is the signal to the Assad about the need to more closely participate in the negotiation process with the opposition: “Short-term goal is a partial transfer of power, long term, constitutional reform and elections”.
The Director also Eurasia Group Ian Bremmer in his video address on his Facebook page emphasizes: “In contrast to the Ukrainian conflict in Syria, Russian control over what is happening is not so great. I guess even from Assad’s mission is not fulfilled”. For the Kremlin, according to Bremer, the moment had come, and to him, Russia came up with minimal losses.
Bloomberg columnist Leonid bershidskiy, on the contrary, believes that Russia in fact is not going to curtail its military presence in Syria. Putin’s statement, according to him, resembles similar peacemaking gesture after the meeting in Normandy in the summer of 2014 and after the signing of the “Minsk-2” in Ukraine in early 2015.
“In addition, in Syria even more just to hide the movement of Russian troops — continues bershidskiy. Because no one is able to clearly monitor the situation on the ground, in addition to local human rights activists, whose capacity is also limited”. Therefore, the expert believes, the real “withdrawal” will be unknown, and also because unclear the exact composition of an already existing troops.
Skeptical and diplomatic sources The Guardian: “We should wait and see what’s been done. It’s Putin, he many times made such statements, but nothing was materialized”.
At the same time, according to The Guardian reporter Paul Walker, Moscow managed to fulfill two main objectives for its campaign: to secure a place at the negotiating table about the future of Syria and to avoid the endless tightening of the military operation.
German Handlsblatt asks the question: who ultimately may be profitable such a step the Kremlin? “If Putin really sincere in their intentions, then this decision will put added pressure on Damascus,” the paper concludes. Realizing this, the representatives of the UN and the Syrian opposition, notes Handelsblatt, optimistic about the withdrawal of Russian troops.