There have been a lot of talks recently about the decline of the Russian presence in Syria, through reports that indicated a reduction in the number of its forces and air defence systems present in Syria and others. It was pointed out that these changes are aimed at strengthening the Ukrainian front.
In this regard, the Russian newspaper Kommersant quoted experts, stressing that Russia cannot ease its presence in Syria. They pointed out that Russian policy in Syria is, for Moscow, one of the pivotal elements in forming Russian strategy in the Middle East. The director of the Center for Arab and Islamic Studies at the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Vasily Kuznetsov, said, “talk about Russia’s exit from Syria is foolishness because Moscow’s policy towards Syria is one of the key elements in shaping Russia’s strategy towards the Middle East.”
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Kuznetsov explained that Russia’s relations, in light of the conflict in Ukraine, are subject to adjustments with Central Asian countries but the situation in the Middle East is different. He pointed out that “unlike Central Asia, there has been no Russian hegemony over the Middle East, including cultural, economic and civilizational dominance. The Middle East has never been a zone of existential interests,” according to Kommersant.
Regarding the military side, military expert Yuri Liamin said, “Fluctuations in the number of military personnel may be related to rotation, especially with no major military operations now in Syria. Rotation of commanders is also common.”
It is clear that talking about withdrawing or easing the Russian presence in Syria is almost impossible. Russia’s retention of a presence in a strategic spot in the Middle East, such as Syria, which also guarantees it a presence in the Mediterranean, is a project that Russia has been working on for a long time.
Al-Monitor earlier confirmed that “the Kremlin hopes that Syria will be a future thorn in NATO’s southern wing.”
This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.