The Syrian ceasefire is a mark of progress in the disputed region but several parties are still doubtful on Russia’s true agenda in honoring the said peace agreement. According to some analysts, Russia withdrew because President Vladimir Putin has something in mind while others claim that the United States pressured the country to withdraw.
President Vladimir Putin has kept the world guessing on Russia’s next move for the past years. Whereas Moscow received heavy criticism for its airstrikes in Syria, it was also one of the advocates of the said ceasefire leaving some world powers befuddled. However, some claim that Russia may have a hidden agenda for agreeing to the ceasefire and that the United States may not be entirely aware of it.
“My analysis suggests Russia’s sudden move amounts to more of a drawdown than a withdrawal because, despite news bulletins to the contrary, Putin yet maintains a certain military presence in Syria. Intelligence imagery indicates the Russian Sukhoi Su-24M bomber aircraft group is still largely in place.” wrote David Qualaalou on his report for The Huffington Post.
He also added that Russia wants to secure whatever form or shape political outcome may be, they will support the country’s long-term objectives.
“Equally important, an analysis of the imagery shows Russia is not only still expanding infrastructure and facilities around its Latakia naval base but also has deployed additional assets in the past several days,” added Qualaalou.
For instance, a report by The Guardian suggested Russian weapons exports should see around $6bn-$7bn boost because of its bombing campaign in Syria. The attacks, in part, functioned as “advertising” for Russia’s capabilities. The report cited analysts and the media saying that Russia’s demonstration of military might could serve well as arms buyers have shown an increased interest that could soon boost hardware sales for Moscow.
As for concerns on whether Russia withdrew from Syria because of the West’s persuasion, the country denied CIA head John Brennan’s visit to Moscow had anything to do with it. “The fact that Brennan was here had not been made secret. He didn’t go to Russia’s Foreign Ministry. I know for sure that he was at the Russian Federal Security Service [FSB],” RT quoted Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Oleg Syromolotov.