Thursday, July 11, 2019
Government forces have struggled to make headway in their offensive against the final rebel stronghold in the north-west. That campaign enjoys significant Russian support. Resolving the Idlib situation is critical for Russian ambitions of ending the war and securing a transition to the reconstruction phase that will allow Moscow to reap the benefits of its investments.
- Russian initiatives will insist on the perpetuation of the Assad government and restoring its authority.
- Moscow may press Damascus for concessions to finalise a constitutional committee, helping gain international buy-in.
- Turkish cooperation is needed to curb (and ultimately eliminate) Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, a powerful jihadist faction in Idlib.
- Russia will carefully manage the fate of North Caucasian fighters in Syria to avoid them returning to domestic insurgencies.