Testifying to the Senate today, DIA chief Lt. Gen. Vincent Stewart declared the US “calculus” on the Syrian Civil War had completely changed over the last six months because of Russian involvement, saying that President Bashar al-Assad is no longer on the way out, and likely to be a “long-term player.”
The US has long demanded Assad’s immediate ouster, but while Stewart says intelligence officials were openly talking about an “endgame” for Assad just months ago, he now seems to be in a much more secure position.
Russia’s involvement, providing air support for the Assad government and allied militias, was seen as a big part of Syria’s recovery of most of Latakia Province and its recent gains in Homs and Aleppo Provinces, end sieges against Shi’ite towns and putting pressure on rebel supply lines.
The Pentagon has made several admissions that Russia is probably achieving its goals in Syria, which centered on preventing a collapse of the existing government. This is both in stark contrast to the lack of success from the US airstrikes in Syria, and the Obama Administration’s predictions that Russia’s involvement in Syria would end in a quick and disastrous failure.
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