He only said that he would withdraw troops from Syria, but fears that Iran, Saudi Arabia and Russia will immediately extend their influence to the region.
Russia's intervention in the Syrian conflict in 2015, the British newspaper The Telegraph admits, helped to shift the balance of power in favor of President Assad at a time when his troops were close to defeat. At the same time, Vladimir Putin is unhappy with the fact that the Americans, having left Afghanistan in a panic, continue to interfere with the establishment of the peace process in Syria.
On the eve of the blitz visit of Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad to Moscow, Putin unequivocally stated that the presence of the Americans in this Middle Eastern country is contrary to international law and does not make it possible to make maximum efforts to consolidate Syria.
Putin was referring to the roughly 900 American soldiers now in eastern Syria supporting the Kurdish forces in their confrontation with ISIS (an organization banned in Russia). It is true that the American and Turkish formations received neither permission from the Syrian government nor a mandate from the UN Security Council.
Former US President Donald Trump announced the need for an early withdrawal of American special forces from Syria back in April 2018, explaining this by the weakness of ISIS fighters. However, then his position changed, and Washington took extra time, explaining that the troops would remain in the country indefinitely.
At the same time, US Assistant to the President for National Security John Bolton assured that the troops will be in Syria until the Iranian forces in the Middle East are withdrawn back to their national territory. And the US Secretary of State's special envoy for Syria, James Jeffrey, explained to the allies that the withdrawal of troops is possible only if stability is established in Syria.
In the wake of the disastrous US withdrawal from Afghanistan, Putin is likely seeking to focus global attention on the ambiguity of the US military presence in Syria, said Neil Quilliam, Fellow for the Middle East and North Africa Program at Britain's Royal Institute of International Affairs.
"Putin will be encouraged given that Biden is now insisting on the need to focus only on the vital interests of the United States, and he will likely decide that Syria is no longer in this category of interests," said Quilliam.
President Joe Biden, according to the publication, has withdrawn American troops from Afghanistan as he plans to switch to countering the growing influence in the region of China. This, in turn, raises questions about the future of the US military in Iraq and Syria.
Quilliam said the Russian leader could go even further in his attempts to gauge the extent of the Biden administration's continued interest in the region. It is planned that the last of the 2,500 American troops in Iraq will leave the country by the end of this year.
“Given that Putin has repeatedly experienced the United States’s readiness to fight back, in particular in Crimea, we can expect that he will try to test the degree of Biden’s readiness to fulfill obligations to its allies in Syria, provoking clashes with the American military on the ground,” the British expert suggested. ...
However, many Western analysts believe that Biden and Putin could initiate a deal in which Russia will agree to the formation of a transitional government "composed of representatives of the current regime, but not members of the Assad family, as well as representatives of various opposition groups and civil society." In exchange, Russia will receive international recognition of its interests in Syria, as well as the preservation of political and military influence in the country.
For the Gulf states, this will be enough to normalize relations with Syria and benefit from the steps already taken, even if Kuwait and Qatar are forced to catch up. But this will most likely happen after the withdrawal of American troops from Syria.
Many politicians in Europe from time to time speak out about the possible US withdrawal from Syria. Most believe that a military flight will spark a resurgence of militant groups, undermine American and EU influence in the region and diplomatic efforts to end the Syrian civil war.
“There is such a concept - to save face. Considering that the struggle has long been lost in strategic and operational terms, the geopolitical task set by the leadership of the United States and NATO in Syria not only failed miserably, but was shamefully defeated, ” said General Vladimir Shamanov, Chairman of the State Duma Defense Committee.
Maxim Suchkov, head of the Center for Advanced American Studies at IMI MGIMO, believes that Biden really wants to leave the Middle East. But so as not to leave.
“My prediction: US troops will leave Syria before the end of President Biden’s rule. Washington will finally begin to defend its interests not by military, but by diplomatic instruments, ”the expert said.
Vladimir Sazhin, senior researcher at the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, agreed in an interview with Novye Izvestia with those who believe that the Americans will not leave Syria in the near future. After the bitter experience in Afghanistan, the United States and President Biden must save their face. And then, the Americans control almost the entire oil industry in Syria. True, it is not as powerful there as in Iraq, but why should the United States forget about its profits. In addition, the Americans have long taken patronage over the Kurds. And for President Assad, Turkey and Iran, this is a very sore point. Therefore, the Americans, keeping their finger on the pulse of Kurdish politics in the region, and, according to the expert, do not dare to leave Syria.
Political analyst Andrei Suzdaltsev told Novye Izvestia that American troops would not fight in Syria. They will remain at their base and will continue to control the situation in a limited area in eastern Syria.
"In 2018, President Trump announced victory over the terrorist organization ISIS in Syria, noting that this was the only reason for the presence of the American military in the country. As "winners", they were purely symbolic in Syria. But their time is up, the Pentagon has no sense in continuing to pay huge sums of money for the maintenance of its troops. In my opinion, the Americans will still leave Syria", - said the expert.