After five years of political support for the regime of Bashar Al-Asad in its war against the opposition, Russia intervened militarily on his behalf in September 2015 and suddenly later this year Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the withdrawal of the Russian troops from Syria. While Moscow claims that its intervention was aimed at destroying ISIS and other terrorists groups, but the vast majority of its air strikes seem to target the moderate armed opposition, which has fought ISIS on the ground. This presentation assesses the outcome of Russia’s intervention, arguing that it neither achieved its goal of destroying ISIS nor did it tip the balance favor of Asad. Instead, the intervention had resulted in the killing of Syrian civilians, complicated the conflict in Syria, and constrained the prospects for a political solution by empowering Asad on the ground.
Radwan Ziadeh is a senior analyst at the Arab Center in Washington D.C. He is the founder and director of the Damascus Center for Human Rights Studies in Syria and co-founder and executive director of the Syrian Center for Political and Strategic Studies in Washington, D.C. He is a Visiting Scholar at the Center for the Study of Human Rights at Columbia University, and Fellow at the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding (ISPU) in Washington D.C. Ziadeh was the managing editor of the Transitional Justice Project in the Arab World, and the Head of the Syrian Commission for Transitional Justice, which was established on November 14, 2013 by the Syrian Interim Government. He was also involved in the Syrian political opposition. He was elected in October 2011 as director of the Foreign Relations Office of the Syrian National Council until he resigned from the position in November 2012. He wrote more than twenty books in English and Arabic. His most recent book is Syria's Role in a Changing Middle East: The Syrian-Israeli Peace Talks (I.B.Tauris, 2016). Ziadeh holds a D.D.S in Dentistry from Damascus University, Diploma in international Human Rights Law from College of Law at the American University in Washington D.C, an MA in Democracy and Governance from Georgetown University in Washington D.C, and an MS in Finance from Kogod School of Business at the American University in Washington D.C.