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Fighting for Peace: Russian Forces in Syria 'Do More Than Just Fight Jihadists'

Syrian President Bashar Assad says the situation in his country has dramatically improved from the military perspective, with terrorist groups on the retreat. 

Military observer Alexander Perendzhiev says the main guarantee to ensure a lasting peace in Syria is finding political stability, and that Russian forces are actively engaged on that front.

Speaking to India's WION television broadcaster over the weekend, the Syrian president explained that situation in his country "has improved dramatically…because the terrorist groups, mainly ISIS and al-Nusra and like-minded groups in Syria who are Wahhabi terrorist extremist groups, are retreating…the area under their control has been shrinking."

"So, the situation on the ground, from a military point of view, is much better than before," Assad said.

The Syrian president told his interviewer that the resolution of the Syrian conflict depends not only on military successes, but on combating the ideology spread by the terrorists, and the support they receive from abroad.

In the same interview, Assad welcomed India's participation in Syria's post-war reconstruction.

"If you want to talk about the reconstruction, as you know, when you have war in any country that destroys much of the infrastructure, the most profitable sector would be the rebuilding, and India is welcome to play an economic role in the reconstruction of Syria, something that we already started," Assad said.

Asked to comment on the Syrian president's remarks, Alexander Perendzhiev, political and military analyst and lecturer at the Plekhanov Russian University of Economics, explained that for Syria to start the process of rebuilding, political stability must first be assured.

"In any case, international assistance will be needed," the analyst said, speaking to Radio said. 

"Such mechanisms already exist. In the United Nations, for example, there are a number of organizations whose task is precisely to help in such cases to restore peace. 

But how can one invest money for reconstruction without stability, and above all –without political stability?" Perendzhiev asked.

The answer, he said, lies in part in diplomacy, including Syria's Russian allies' determined political and diplomatic efforts to establish a dialogue between the government and the armed opposition, whether in international platforms or within the country itself.

"Our military forces in Syria are not only fighting there, but helping to establish conditions for peaceful life," Perendzhiev said. 

"They are trying to ensure that in one region or another, local leaders and the various local power brokers can establish a normal peaceful life, rather than be in confrontation with one another and with the central government."

With any luck, these efforts, combined with an uncompromising war with the jihadists, will eventually help to bring the Syrian war to an end, and for good.


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