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Russia and Syria Raise Concerns about Prospective Collaboration

The meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad in Kremlin has caused ripples. The meeting between the two countries was the first in Moscow since 2015 and is of concern to the western countries specifically. The Syrian President has been accused of orchestrating terrorist activities from his country by the western countries. However at the meeting, President Bashar applauded the Russian support in curtailing the rise of terrorists. He also described the western sanctions as “antihuman” and “illegitimate”. 

The closeness between Russia and Syria is bound to raise concerns. Amongst other things discussed at the meeting, the presence of American troops in Eastern Syria was mentioned. Russian President Putin insisted that the presence of foreign troops in Syria was against international law and was willing to help in the process of liberation. It is ironic as the western countries regard Syria as a violator of the international norms. The two countries have discussed taking steps and collaborating to promote the inter-state relations and fight terrorism together. 

Reuters reported that the Syrian state television shared details of an exchange between the Russian defence minister and Syria’s foreign minister too. There are talks of cooperation between the two countries for promoting humanitarian assistance, bilateral relations and joint counter-terrorist activities. Any such partnership will pose additional challenges for the international community. The Syrian government lacks recognition and support from several countries. The United States has imposed stricter sanctions against Syria and has continued to insist that a political alternative be reached. 

The increasing friendship between Russia and Syria add to the fears of the western countries.  There is a history of affinity between the leaders for many years. However, in the current political dynamics, this bond will be closely watched. During the meeting, the intent towards checking the terrorist activities was the most positive take away.