In new comments echoing those of other Pentagon officials, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Joe Dunford said Russian airstrikes since September have “stabilized” the Assad government in Syria, and have put them in a stronger negotiating position for next week’s Geneva talks.
Oddly, Gen. Dunford did not suggest that US airstrikes against the same targets in the same areas had done anything to help the Assad government, and accused Russia’s involvement of being a threat to the peace talks.
Which doesn’t make much sense, since the peace talks are almost certainly not going to happen at any rate, with the nations involved failing to come up with a list of who to even invite and the UN more or less giving up in the face of advanced refusals to attend from factions that might not have been invited in the first place.
Even then, while the US official position has been that they want Assad ousted eventually, they’ve also insisted the focus is entirely on fighting ISIS, and the peace talks themselves were supposed to unify the government with what moderate rebels there are to resist ISIS. The Assad government has expressed at least some support for this idea, though the inability of the international community to figure out who the moderates are has really hamstrung the effort.