Russia’s scorched earth policy in Syria

Lara Nelson writes: “It’s like Stalingrad. They raze entire areas. Then they send in the militias,” Yamen Ahmad, an FSA commander in Latakia, described. He was in Selma, Latakia province, leading his brigade when the regime took back the area from the opposition in January. “There is no way to resist this scorched earth policy the Russians are deploying with their strikes across Syria.”

Since Russia began its strikes in Syria on 30 September, the regime has been able to make some gains across the country. Despite declaring that their military goal was strictly to target ISIS in Syria, studies have clearly documented their strikes have the main purpose of supporting the Assad regime’s military operations on the ground against moderate opposition forces, and have done little to seriously combat ISIS.

“Russia is simply acting as the regime’s air force against our moderate forces now,” said spokesman for the FSA’s Southern Front and defected officer Major Issam Al Reis. In Aleppo, the frontline between the regime and ISIS is a de facto safe zone, while they both focus their weaponry on opposition forces. As one media activist on the ground observed in the recent battle for Aleppo: “During the north Aleppo offensive, not a single Russian bomb hit ISIS – not a single ISIS attack hit Assad’s front.” [Continue reading…]

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