According to him, Russia has vital interests in Syria — maintaining military bases, as well as protecting its economic investments. Also, Jeffrey said, Russia believes that limited military involvement in Syria helps it achieve major strategic successes.
“They are, indeed, very successful in the military sense in Syria. The problem is that there is no political way out because of the problems with (President Bashar al-Assad) Assad. Our job is to give them away forward through the UN, with the support of the UN. But it requires that they distance themselves to some extent from Assad and the Iranians,” Jeffrey said at a video conference of the Hudson Jeffrey Institute.
At the video conference, Jeffrey was asked how to “drive a wedge between Assad and the Russians” and whether to believe reports that Assad has recently caused discontent in Moscow.
“We believe that these reports are correct. We have been talking to the Russians for the past year. The Russians are not happy with Assad. The problem is that they don’t see an alternative,” Jeffrey said.
Russia and the United States support the peace process in Syria under the auspices of the UN. The United States has been demanding the resignation of Syrian President al-Assad since 2011 and convincing other countries of its necessity, but so far to no avail.
The United States and its allies have been conducting military operations in Syria and Iraq since 2014 against the terrorist group “Islamic state.” In Syria, they operate without the permission of the country’s authorities.