Reuters reports: Russia’s politically-sensitive and ultimately fruitless decision to launch bombing missions on Syria from Iranian soil has exposed the limits to its air power, leaving Moscow in need of a new strategy to advance its aims.
People familiar with Russia’s military said Moscow opted for the sorties from Iran – and Tehran agreed to allow them – because they were struggling to achieve their aim of crushing rebels in the city of Aleppo.
The gamble failed and rebels fighting their ally, Syrian President Bashar al-Aasad, remain ensconced in parts of Aleppo.
Russia began air strikes on Syria in support of Assad on Sept. 30 last year, launched from bases in government-held territory and from warships. Then this month, facing logistical problems in mounting an expensive campaign at a time of tight state finances, it intensified the bombing of Aleppo in what turned out to be a brief series of raids from Iran.
The strikes on the Aleppo rebels seem to have achieved little beyond stirring a political row in Iran, whose constitution forbids the establishment of any kind of foreign military base.
The fact that Russia went to such lengths to achieve its aims in Aleppo and still failed could strengthen the hand of those in Moscow who believe the operation in Syria has reached a watershed, and that it is time to seek a negotiated solution. [Continue reading…]