Britain says Russia trying to carve out mini-state for Assad in Syria

Reuters reports: Britain said on Tuesday Russia could be trying to carve out an Alawite mini-state in Syria for its ally President Bashar al-Assad by bombing his opponents instead of fighting Islamic State militants.

Russia and Britain have been trading barbs after British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond told Reuters he believed President Vladimir Putin was worsening the Syrian civil war by bombing opponents of Islamic State.

Hammond dismissed Russian criticism that he was spreading “dangerous disinformation”, saying there was a limit to how long Russia could pose as a promoter of the peace process while bombing Assad’s opponents, who the West hopes can shape Syria once the president is gone.

“Is Russia really committed to a peace process or is it using the peace process as a fig leaf to try to deliver some kind of military victory for Assad that creates an Alawite mini state in the northwest of Syria?” Hammond told reporters in Rome.

The comments indicate growing frustration in Western capitals about Putin’s intervention, alongside Iran, in Syria but also give a frank insight into the Western assessment of the Kremlin’s potential objectives for Syria. [Continue reading…]

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One thought on “Britain says Russia trying to carve out mini-state for Assad in Syria

  1. Tijl

    The Dutch journalist Harald Doornbos explained on twitter yesterday that it is currently clearly not the intention of Assad to create an Alawite mini-state. His recent offensives are not in Alawite territory. Assad seems to by trying to regain control of the border with Turkey, so he can cut off the rebel supply lines and regain control of most of the country. He might tolerate the YPG control of Kurdish areas, as a buffer between Turkey and Syria, and of course, it remains to be seen how successful his current strategy will be, but it is quite clear that that strategy is to regain control of most of Syria, and not to withdraw into a new mini-state.

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