"This is a real victory for Moscow," Sputnik quoted the German weekly magazine Der Spiegel as saying. What can Russia now count on? Last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin turned 67 years old. And it was on his birthday that his American counterpart Donald Trump announced a decision to withdraw troops from northern Syria. For Putin, this was a wonderful gift. Now Russia is the only superpower in Syria that is affecting the situation there. The West succumbed: Europeans were just poor observers of what happened in the Middle East, and now Americans are leaving the scene.
This is the real victory of Moscow politics. Its main strength is that relations with none of the parties in the region will not be damaged. However, the region is always facing endless disputes.
Moscow has constantly tried to maintain at least balanced relations with everyone: with Shiites and Sunnis, with Turks and Kurds, with Israel and Syria, with Iranians and Arabs, and this policy was now fully justified when Turkey attacked. It launched Syrian Kurdish forces on the territory of its neighboring country. It is no coincidence that Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on October 9 personally announced the start of his operation with Putin, and only then did the news appear on Twitter.
What can Moscow count on in the current situation?
"Russia's influence in a region that was not so high will increase," said Russian expert on international politics Fyodor Lukyanov. The United States left the Kurds in trouble and proved that no one should trust them. Moscow had made no promises to the Kurds from the beginning, so they had no reason to despair.
Now the Syrian Kurds have to surrender to Bashar al-Assad. This reinforces his regime and is quite appropriate for Russia. Moscow's main task is to strengthen the regime's power in Damascus. Now the Kurds have to ask themselves about it.
Russia has no particular objection to Turkey's creation of an "intermediate zone" in northeastern Syria. The Kremlin has always maintained that Turkey has legitimate interests in securing its southern borders. Thus, the Kremlin has made it clear that it is in a situation where Ankara may decide to accuse the Kremlin of its military operations and say that Moscow has invaded Ankara's sphere of influence in Syria. Moscow has only one condition: the "intermediate zone" should not be occupied by Turkey – officially, the last word should be with Syria.
Finally, Moscow will be happy if Turkey conflicts with its Western partners. For Moscow, this is an opportunity to weaken NATO. And although Trump has really helped Erdogan by deciding to withdraw US troops and open the way for attacks on the Turks, there is nothing to say about Washington and Ankara's proximity. Trump is again threatening Turkey in his tweets, and Erdogan does not appear to be keen on getting rid of Putin.
At this time, Vladimir Putin traveled to the region to visit. On Monday, he arrived in Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia and, of course, brought presents to King Salman – a hunter, a rare hunting bird from Kamchatka.
The points raised in this article are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Sputnik editorial board.