Der Rückzug Russlands aus Syrien
Fariza Dzorthova: Understanding the Russian withdrawal from Syria, AIES Fokus 3/2016
During the last half-year Syria has gone through fast and violent alterations both on the battlefield and in the political context. In tandem with Iranian and Hezbollah militia on the ground, Russia carried out massive military operations across Syria, turning the course of events in favor of the exhausted Syrian regime. This strategy to capture territory was carried out in anticipation of the fact that negotiations are under way, desiring to draw the broad outlines of a political settlement. Unexpectedly, Putin has ordered a partial withdrawal of Russian forces from Syria starting March 15, the day the negotiations start in Genève, stating that the objectives that have been set, are generally accomplished. But the fact remains - the Islamic State (IS) - the original declared objective for Russian intervention - is still having a considerable part of Syria under its control, and in the statement about the end of operation in Syria the IS has not been even mentioned. Whether Russia has fulfilled its tasks in Syria or simply retreated, convinced that it is impossible, is today a subject to controversy. But a closer look at the events in Syria and Russia’s policy both toward it, as well as Russia’s domestic issues, could help to understand what the Russian calculations might mean.