Syrians gather and use fire extinguishera on the rubble of a building in the aftermath of a Russian airstrike in Dair al-Asafeer village, rural Damascus. Activists
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DAMASCUS – Russia’s military intervention to back Syrian President Bashar al-Assad may have prevented the radical group of Islamic State’s (ISIS) total control of the country, Russian Ambassador to the EU Vladimir Chizov said.
Chizov told CNN that unless Russia intervened in Syria, the civil war perhaps would have ended earlier, with the destruction of the Syrian army and the government.
“ISIS would have controlled the whole territory,” he said.
Chizov added that the Assad regime was not on the brink of collapse, but the situation was quite dramatic.
“Despite the constant U.S.-led airstrikes over a year, ISIS was far from being defeated.”
Putin said that while his country’s intervention was to “fight terrorism,” the ultimate goal was to push for a political solution.
As ISIS reports more gains on ground, Western leaders, despite insisting on Assad’s departure, seem to have coped with the idea of Assad staying in power, in part, for the time being.
“Well, in conflicts like this, there are no angels, that’s for sure,” Chizov said. “But it’s up to the Syrian people, and only the Syrian people, to make decisions on the political future of their country.”
The Russian Ambassador said it’s not an issue whether Assad stays or goes. “If he disappeared today, this will not solve the conflict, because the conflict is very deep-rooted,” he argued.
Chizov pointed out that the U.S.-led coalition has intervened in Syria illegally, while Russia’s move came at the request of the Assad regime.
“In Syria, the U.S.-led coalition is on the wrong side of international law.”
Chizov believes that no such conflict can be won from the air.
“There have to be ground forces in the face of ISIS, and these forces must be Syrians for sure,” he said, pointing out that the Russians have created a better, safer environment for them to advance.
He continued saying that Western leaders accuse Russia of targeting many anti-Assad legitimate forces instead of ISIS.
“Russia is open for cooperation, but the U.S. has refused and only agreed on how to avoid mistaken engagement by the two countries over Syria,” Chizov said.
“We will be able to pronounce the famous words ‘mission accomplished’ when ISIS and related terrorist groups are destroyed and can no longer influence the situation in Syria,” he concluded.
After weeks of airstrikes by Russian warplanes, Assad regime’s army and allied forces have been morally boosted, although no remarkable result is seen on ground so far.
The Russian military operations in Syria started on Sept. 30 under the pretext of combatting ISIS militants. However, opposition activists and Western leaders said that Russia mainly targets anti-Assad moderate rebels in its strikes. The war-torn country is apparently heading to a state divided into sectarian and ethnic regions, according to analysts.
Reporting by: Resho Issa
Source: ARA News