Sunday, May 29, 2016

Time for Putin to Escalate Airstrikes in Syria Against All Terrorist Groups

Time for Putin to Escalate Airstrikes in Syria Against All Terrorist Groups

by Stephen Lendman

Assad and his key advisors explain terrorists in Syria are all elements waging war on its people and sovereign independence, committing cold-blooded murder and atrocities.

Included aren’t just the few Security Council designated groups. Elements wanting Syria raped and destroyed need to be fought and defeated.

For five-and-a-half months, Russian air power proved hugely effective, routing ISIS and other terrorist fighters, destroying their weapons, munitions, supply lines and facilities.

In mid-March, when Putin ordered most Russian warplanes withdrawn from Syria, he indicated Russia’s military capacity could be reassembled if necessary in “a few hours.”

Its state-of-the-art S-400 air defense system remains in place, protecting nearly all Syrian airspace - ready for use “against any targets that we would consider a threat to our servicemen,” Putin explained.

He indicated Russia will maintain its military presence in Syria to combat ISIS and other terrorist groups. Military aid to government forces will continue, boosted as needed.

In a Kremlin ceremony honoring Russian servicemen involved in the Syrian campaign, he said Moscow demonstrated its “leadership, will and responsibility (in fighting) enemies of civilization.”

It’s no time to let up now. Understandably, Putin doesn’t want to get bogged down in endless war, going all-out for diplomatic conflict resolution - so far accomplishing little. Peace talks were dead on arrival. If resumed, they’ll fail again.

Moscow’s formidable campaign changed the dynamic dramatically on the ground, letting Syrian forces regain hundreds of kilometers of lost territory.

Downgrading it slowed important progress, letting ISIS, Jabhat al-Nusra and other terrorist groups regroup and rearm, risking loss of earlier hard-won gains.

Fort Russ said retired Black Sea Fleet commander/current lower house State Duma Committee on Defense head Admiral Vladimir Komoyedov expressed concern about Russia’s de-escalated aerial campaign.

Earlier Moscow said it “reserve(s) the right to conduct unilateral strikes…on…international terrorist organizations and illegal armed units” not agreeing to ceasefire by May 25.

It delayed operations to let nonexistent moderate rebels separate themselves from Security Council designated terrorist groups, saying safe zones aren’t agreed on by different elements - a thinly veiled stalling tactic, anti-Assad forces taking full advantage.

According to Komoyedov, Jabhat al-Nusra increased its forces, rearmed, regained strength, and “is mostly active. (W)e should not just run, and it’s time to end this.”

If Russian operations aren’t escalated, “it is possible to lose something positive that has been achieved.”

It’s time for Putin to act. He erred scaling back in March. The only language America, its rogue allies and terrorists they support understand is brute force.

Russia sustained it effectively for five-and-a-half months. It’s time to resume what worked so well earlier. The alternative, as Komoyedov suggests, is losing hard-won gains.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

Visit his blog site at 

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