Dempsey: Russia's intentions in Syria unclear
General Martin Dempsey, the Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, who was on a two-day working visit to Estonia, said that Russia's policy in regard to Syria is still unpredictable at this point.
Commenting on the news that Russian military appears to be attempting to set up a military base in Syria, Dempsey said that Russia's intentions are unclear at this moment. “Russia said that ISIS might be a threat to them and they want to deny the terrorist organisation an ability to sustain their campaign.”
Dempsey said that Russia has supported Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime for long time, adding that this was the regime that created the current situation in Syria.
“We don't have the answer yet. Without seeing Russian troops on the ground, it is very difficult to say what the real intentions behind Russia's actions in Syria are.”
Dempsey said that if Russia was to establish some kind of safe zone to protect just the Assad's regime, it could likely have a result that complicates the humanitarian help and prolong the conflict – unless it will result with some kind of provisional government.
The general also indicated that the current refugee crisis in Europe might encourage the European countries to get more involved with the Syrian conflict.
“No military leader should be directing the policies. We can only advise. And my advice is that looking at the crisis in Syria, we should be looking not only at the symptoms, but also look where it began,” Dempsey said.
Dempsey recalled the Balkan crisis in the 1990s when the European countries got more involved after the refugees started arriving. “What I'm suggesting is that we might be in one of those moments of history where the symptoms trigger action,” he said.