Russia emboldened by West’s weak actions in Syria, Ukraine
“All look at the example of Russia in Ukraine and Syria, and say — if Russia can do that, why can’t we?” said Kristina Dobrovolska, a representative of a open-source investigating community Inform Napalm.
Meanwhile, according to the United Nations, the ongoing multi-sided war in Syria has claimed at least 500,000 lives and uprooted more than 11 million people, sending half of them abroad as refugees.
Russia, which intervened the conflict in late September 2015 to back the Assad regime, still continues delivering destructive air strikes on the remaining Syrian resistance forces, as well as on civilian targets. It's part of a calculated Kremlin strategy to create a refugee crisis that weakens the West with a political crisis, speakers said.
Due to the Kremlin’s military and financial support for the Damascus regime, the devastating war in Syria continues with little hope of an end soon.
Tobias Schneider, a research fellow at the Global Public Policy Institute, said he is pessimistic that a peace settlement would be found soon to the Syrian war. The best thing the global community can do try to save as many lives of Syrian civilians as possible, he said.
Russian intervention "has transformed the nature of the conflict in Syria,” he said. With the West unable to bring about an end to the war, it should concentrate on making the lives of those worst affected by the fighting more bearable, Schneider said.
“Peace in Syria might not come in our generation, but the lives of refugees can be made better. Bringing peace to Syria is unrealistic — both in terms of political will and actual capacity.”
Russians say their intervention into Syria is to keep Assad in power. But Western countries continue to believe that Russia’s intervention was against ISIS terrorists. They (Russians) want to talk to Americans. They refuse to speak to Europeans who try to negotiate with them. Syria is on the last place on their list after Ukraine issue, Crimea, the Baltics, gas issue, NATO, return to the international diplomacy. They don’t want to hear anything about the humanitarian issue.
director of the Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies
I think Russia's intervention has fundamentally transformed the nature of the conflict. Not necessarily so much because Russian bombs really hit the opposition this hard. (It) reshuffles the strategic picture in the region. Peace is elusive.. we can try to save as many Syrian civilians as possible and make their lives as tolerable as possible. I look at the half of the population that can’t live and doesn’t have a future under the current regime. What will their politics be? Bringing peace to Syria is unrealistic but bringing peace to Syrians in dire situations would be the best project. We need to start re-engaging.
research fellow at Berlin-based Global Public Policy Institute, editor of Syria in Context weekly brief
Russia tests its new weapons in Ukraine and Syria. Its military personnel gains combat experience. Today, we have a very well trained and experience enemy. After the annexation of Crimea, Russian started to increase the presence of Russian troops on the peninsula and rebuild military facilities. Russia’s main goal is to control the Black Sea region and pressure NATO states in the Black Sea region and Mediterranean Sea.
deputy head of the chief directorate of intelligence of Ukraine's Ministry of Defense
The United States has to increase its presence in the region using existing infrastructure, supporting Syrian opposition, and assuring the Middle East and our allies that the US isn’t leaving the region.
fellow at The Washington Institute focusing on Russia's policy toward the Middle East
Anna Borshchevskaya, Specialist on Russian influence in Middle East (R), speaks during the Kyiv Post's "Bringing Peace to Syria & Ukraine" conference on June 18 in Kyiv. (Volodymyr Petrov)