American officials have acknowledged that Russia’s military campaign against terror groups in Syria has been successful and achieved Moscow’s chief goal.
Three months into Russia’s military operations in Syria, Russian President Vladimir Putin has achieved his central goal of stabilizing the government of Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad and, with the costs relatively low, could sustain the mission at this level for years, Reuters reported on Monday, quoting unnamed US officials.
The report said the acknowledgment comes despite public assertions by US President Barack Obama and his top aides that Putin launched an ill-conceived mission in support of President Assad and that it will likely fail.
“I think it’s indisputable that the Assad regime, with Russian military support, is probably in a safer position than it was,” Reuters quoted a senior administration official, who requested anonymity.
Five other American officials interviewed by the news agency concurred with the view that the Russian mission has been mostly successful so far and is facing relatively low costs.
However, the US officials stressed that Putin could face serious problems if Russia’s campaign lasted dragged on.
The report also noted that since the onset of Moscow’s campaign on September 30, Russia has suffered minimal casualties and, despite domestic fiscal woes, is handily covering the operation’s cost, which analysts estimate at $1-2 billion a year.
A US intelligence official said the Russian mission is being funded from the country’ regular annual defense budget of about $54 billion.