Syria’s civil war gave Russia the opportunity to return to international politics as a superpower, according to Turkish experts.
Now in its eighth year, it began as an uprising against the country’s president, Bashar al-Assad, and evolved into a conflict with many countries taking part with different motivations.
But the only winner of the war seems to be Russia, Oytun Orhan, coordinator of Syria studies at the Ankara-based Center for Middle Eastern Strategic Studies (ORSAM), told Anadolu Agency.
Although the Syrian regime is said to be winning the civil war, “in the current picture, we see a country more than half of which has been displaced or exposed to forced migration, the infrastructure of which has been totally destroyed and a regime which has no control in certain parts of the country”, said Orhan.
The YPG had a short-term gain, but it was not sustainable, he said.
“Now Russia has become a policy-maker in Syria. Even the Syrian regime is now dependent on Russia,” Orhan said. “The Syrian war gave Russia the opportunity to return to international politics as a superpower.”
There are local, regional and international actors taking part in the war, Orhan said.
“The internal actors of the war in Syria are the regime, the opposition — although they are not united — and the YPG/SDF.
“The external actors include Russia, which backs the regime, Iran, Lebanese Hezbollah and the Iranian-backed foreign national Shia militia.”
Orhan said another party to the Syrian crisis is Turkey, which is the only guarantor of the Syrian opposition.
“As part of its fight against terrorism, Turkey has created its own area starting from the Euphrates River to Idlib,” he said.
In the political arena of the war, you see a more extensive number of actors, Orhan said.
“Due to the refugee issue and the foreign national terrorists, the Syrian civil war gained an international dimension and reached a level to threaten global security, especially in Europe.
“Thus, the Syrian crisis has turned out to be a global crisis involving European and even Far East countries.”
Orhan said along with Russia, Turkey has also become a determinant for the Syrian conflict due to its successful military operations.
“The military failure of the Syrian opposition and the West’s loss of interest in the Syrian crisis weakened Turkey’s hand at first. The terror groups gaining power in northern Syria caused security concerns for Turkey. The refugee influx has mostly affected Turkey. However, Turkey took a risk and fought on the ground and minimized the risks.
“The U.S., on the other hand, is now far away from its initial goals. Iran is taking the issue from only a sectarian perspective, while Europe is enjoying its victory due to the decreasing number of terror acts and refugees,” said Mehmet Mulazimoglu, a lecturer at Mehmet Akif Ersoy University’s Faculty of Economics and Administrative Sciences.
“When the Syrian civil war first started, the main motivation of the U.S. and European countries was overthrowing the Assad regime,” Orhan said.
The Western countries began to be concerned about the Syrian conflict when Daesh terrorists from more than 100 countries started flocking to Syria and carried out terrorist attacks in Western capital cities, he added.
Mulazimoglu said the refugee influx and the international terrorist groups were used as tools to intervene in the region.