No-fly zones have become a popular foreign policy tool over the past two decades, but they are rarely effective. In fact, no-fly zones are generally used for solving political rather than military–strategic problems.
Ankara is using its military presence in northern Syria to prevent Kurdish independence and have more of a say in a post-Assad future of the country. The problem is, its main allies, Iran and Russia, are pro-Assad.
Last Monday a UN aid convoy was targeted and destroyed by what appears to be Russian-made munitions. It is therefore likely that either the Russian Air Force or the Syrian Air Force carried out the attack.
Despite the obvious antagonism between Russia and the US, the two states can also cooperate, as the current deal over Syria indicates, especially when Moscow wishes to expand its available strategic options.
The deal to implement a ceasefire across Syria brokered by the US and Russia is a major development in the course of that country’s brutal conflict. It presents a faint glimmer of hope – the first in years – that an end may be in sight to what to date remains this century’s bloodiest conflict.
Putin’s surprise withdrawal is not only to leverage Assad into constructive peace talks. It is also about creating more options for Russia to influence the direction of the military conflict and political transition as things change both in Russia and on the ground.
By claiming to have deployed a sophisticated air-defence system, Russia may be attempting to force the international coalition to think twice before undertaking air strikes in Syria without consultations with Moscow
Russia’s direct intervention in the Syrian crisis has attracted a great deal of attention. A detailed analysis of the actual scope of the Russian military deployment in Syria indicates Moscow’s level...