Imad K. Harb: Russia has abandoned all restraint in its support of Assad

It appears that Russia has decided to fully throw in its weight behind Bashar al-Assad’s regime and in fact take part in bombing civilian targets. I think Russia’s participation in this bombing was caused by two interrelated factors. The first is the Syrian opposition’s rejection to participate in the Sochi conference and to accept Russia’s demands and plans for a political solution. The other is revenge against the downing of a Russia aircraft over Idlib, which looked like a military loss and defeat for the Russian forces in Syria. The bombing may also indicate that Russia now is discounting the diplomatic path in favor of a military solution.

It is also important to note the absence of an international outcry or effort to stop the bombing of civilian targets. Russia and the Syrian regime are engaged in the killing of Syrian civilians. We also have yet to see a good position from the United States such as a statement decrying what is happening. The US Representative to the United Nations Nikki Haley did criticize Russian policy in general but it remains unacceptable to let Russia and the Syrian regime roam freely in the Syrian skies over civilian targets. It is unacceptable that the international community and the United States are silent while it is necessary for them to, at a minimum, object to the targeting of civilians in their operations.

Imad K. Harb is the Director of Research and Analysis at Arab Center Washington DC. To learn more about Imad and read his previous publications click here