Moscow has struck a devastating political blow against the West yet again, especially against its Middle Eastern policy, with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad visit to Moscow on October 20 to meet his Russian counterpart – Vladimir Putin. Spokesman for the Russian President, Dmitry Peskov said talks were held in both narrow and expanded format with the participation of key figures of Russia’s government. “The talks were held for a long while, and their subject is quite clear,” – said Peskov. Assad relayed to Putin about the situation in Syria and upcoming operations Syrian government troops. The two leaders have also discussed topics related to the participation of Russian Air Force warplanes in those operation. “The most pressing topics were the fight against terrorist groups and the extension of Russian operations to support the offensive of the Syrian armed forces, “- said Peskov. Peskov did not specify whether the political future of Bashar al-Assad himself was discussed or not. Moreover, Russia is willing to assist Syria in the search for a political solution to the crisis in the country. “On the basis of positive dynamics in combat, in the end, a long-term settlement will be achieved with the participation of all political forces, as well as ethnic and religious groups. The Syrian people certainly must have the final say. – Vladimir Putin said after the meeting was over.
It is clear that such an unexpected visit does not pursue the goal of detailed discussion of specific aspects of bilateral cooperation. Those are usually carried out by experts and heads of government bodies, in this case they were held by Russia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov and the Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu. The main goal of the Russian-Syrian talks was a demonstration of the determination that both Moscow and Damascus both have to put an end to ISIL or any other illegal armed group, created at the expense of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar with an extensive amount of support from the US, Turkey and Jordan.
For the last three weeks, while Russian warplanes have been obliterating extremist groups in Syria, Russia has been repeatedly offering the White House broad cooperation at the highest level in the fight against ISIL, starting from the coordination of air strikes and ending with intelligence data sharing. Washington and Barack Obama personally have continuously turned down these calls. Moreover, last week the US president, after consulting the Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland, refused to receive a high-level Russian delegation led by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev that sought to discuss a wide range of topics related to the situation in Syria. At the same time Moscow has openly stated that it’s critical at this stage to preserve the government of Bashar Al-Assad, while the Syrian Arab Republic is caught in a middle of a brutal war with hordes of foreign mercenaries. Once this war is over, an internal political settlement can be pursued, but only on the condition that Syrians themselves decide the fate of their country, leaving foreign and regional forces with no say in this matter.