Russian President Vladimir Putin has claimed a “complete victory” has been scored over ISIS forces within Syria, and the faction has been totally driven from both sides of the Euphrates River.
Within Syria, Putin sees the focus now shifting toward the political process, and eventual elections. Russia has advocated substantial political reform within Syria, though with many rebels expecting to be installed outright, they generally oppose any “reform” that stops short of that, or that involves elections which current officials may participate in.
Not that Russia’s troops are going anywhere.
The Syrian war is still ongoing further to the west, around the Idlib Province. Russian defense officials are also suggesting they are interested in getting involved in the ISIS war in neighboring Iraq.
With the US estimated 3,000 ISIS fighters remain in Iraq and Syria, Russian First Deputy Defense Minister Gen. Valery Gerasimov is calling for dialogue with the US and joint operations within Iraq to destroy what’s left of ISIS and prevent them returning to Syria.
This is extremely unlikely to happen as a joint operation, with the US extremely averse to any serious cooperation with Russia, and having previously warned Iraq against letting Russia get too involved in the fighting in their country.
Top photo | A Russian soldier guards as a military helicopter flies over Palmyra, Syria, Sept. 15, 2017. (AP Photo)