1) U.S.-backed rebels lose a key town to Russian airstrikes in Syria
2) After four months, Russia’s campaign in Syria is proving successful for Moscow
Four months after launching airstrikes in Syria, the Kremlin is confident that Moscow’s largest overseas campaign since the Soviet Union is paying off.
Under the banner of fighting international terrorism, President Vladimir Putin has reversed the fortunes of forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, which were rapidly losing ground last year to moderate and Islamist rebel forces in the country’s five-year-old crisis. Government forces are now on the offensive, and on Tuesday, they scored their most significant victory yet, seizing the strategic town of Sheikh Miskeen from rebels who are backed by a U.S.-led coalition.
According to analysts and officials here, the Russian government believes it has won those dividends at a relatively low cost to the country’s budget, with minimal loss of life to its soldiers and with largely supportive public opinion of the war effort.
“This is a limited war that doesn’t really have an effect in Russia,” said Maxim Shevchenko, a Russian journalist who has been supportive of the Russian intervention in Syria and traveled after New Year’s to Syria, where he embedded with Hezbollah fighters.
“There is no stream of coffins,” he said. “There is nothing comparable even to Donetsk,” he added, referring to Russian deaths in Ukraine, including some believed to be active servicemen.
Это, конечно, не полномасштабная война, но потери до сих пор на удивление были намного меньше чем можно было ожидать, практически нулевые. Сейчас бОльший риск представляет не "скорое падение Ассада" (к нему явно дело не идёт), а "головокружение от успехов", и замахивание на войну "до победного конца", отвоевать всю Сирию, вместо того чтобы очистить и стабилизировать её западную, прибрежную часть.