Ex­pert Rus­sia will feel pretty relieved

Sunday Mail (UK) - - News -

Rus­sia may be relieved that the al­lied air strikes didn’t go fur­ther, a de­fence ex­pert claimed yes­ter­day.

Dr Jonathan Eyal, in­ter­na­tional di­rec­tor at se­cu­rity think-tank the Royal United Ser­vices In­sti­tute, said: “If this is a one-off air-strike cam­paign, it may be that we’re not go­ing to see West­ern air­craft re­turn to tar­gets in Syria any time soon.

“The as­sump­tion is it may end there for now – and the Rus­sians may ac­tu­ally feel quite relieved that it wasn’t worse.

“The key ques­tion now is if both sides want to de-es­ca­late the sit­u­a­tion. The Rus­sian re­sponse has so far been muted. Clearly they’d want to see the end of an es­ca­la­tion in matters.”

Eyal added: “What is clear is that there was a very con­scious de­ci­sion to avoid any es­ca­la­tion and that the tar­gets which have been cho­sen are not any­where near Rus­sian bases.”

But he warned things could change if the Syr­ian pres­i­dent ig­nores the warn­ing and continues to use chem­i­cal weapons.

Eyal said: “If there is any sug­ges­tion of a con­tin­u­a­tion, or if the As­sad regime try to defy us by us­ing chem­i­cal weapons in an­other lo­ca­tion, then I think all bets are off.”

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