Monday, 5 October 2015

Moscow scuppers US coalition plans for no-fly zone in Syria

Map: Russian air defence in Syria

 'Just weeks ago, after months of diplomacy, officials were close to an agreement on enforcing aerial safe-zones to end the Assad regime’s bombing of civilians in northern and southern Syria, according to diplomats and military officials in the US-led coalition. The agreement was based on Jordanian and Turkish plans presented earlier this year.
 “The Russian forces now in place make it very, very obvious that any kind of no-fly zone on the Libyan model imposed by the US and allies is now impossible, unless the coalition is actually willing to shoot down Russian aircraft,” says Justin Bronk, research analyst at the Royal United Services Institute.

 Preventing the creation of US-led coalition no-fly zones in Syria is important for Moscow’s influence over events in the country. With the Assad regime’s territorial grip looking fragile in recent months, the added imposition of a US-led coalition no-fly zone could have forced negotiations that would have led to a loss of Russia’s influence. Now any diplomatic or political process that does occur will do so on Moscow’s terms.'

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