Will Syria be another Afghanistan for the Russians?

Mashari Althaydi

Published: Updated:

Have the Russians dived in the Syrian mud? Are they bleeding due to all these traps below the ashes?

The Russian Defense Ministry said yesterday that a Russian military transport plane crashed in its Hmeymim airbase near Latakia killing all 39 people on board. This “accident,” as the Russians described it – thus denying it was a direct “attack” – reminds us of other Russian losses in Syria.

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On November 24, 2015, Turkish defense forces downed a Russian Sukhoi Su-24 fighter jet resulting in a dangerous crisis between the two countries. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had to please the Russians and give them what they want.

On February 3, 2018, a Russian pilot was killed after armed Syrian factions downed his Sukhoi Su-25 fighter jet which was targeting the armed opposition stronghold of Saraqeb in Idlib, northwest of Syria. On December 31, 2017 a Russian plane was damaged in Hmeymim after opposition fighters shelled the base.

The way Russia entered Syria was provocative from the very beginning as it reignited underlying anger, revenge motives and extremism

Mashari Althaydi

Clashes on the ground

Of course this is in addition to those killed in direct clashes on the ground, like what happened when Russian experts were massacred by American troops in Deir az-Zour. Meanwhile, Russian jet fighters, Assad’s army as well as Nasrallah’s and Soleimani’s fighters are blindly and violently shelling the residents of eastern Ghouta. All the residents of Ghouta, including women and children, are ISIS terrorists.

It’s early to say that we’re heading in the direction of a scenario where Syria will become like Afghanistan was to the Russians during the war which lasted for 10 years after the Red Army invaded Afghanistan in 1979.

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Most Muslim and western countries opposed that war which the Russians exited this with huge losses as around 15,000 were killed, thousands others were injured or ended up suffering from war traumas. Russia also lost millions worth of equipment as well its “Russian bear” prestige.

The military transport plane which crashed, or which was downed, in Hmeymim airbase, near Latakia that is the ancestral home of President Assad’s family, exposes the slippery path which the Russians have taken in Syria that’s currently divided into areas that follow warlords and they are loyal to international or regional powers or perhaps to a traditional crime gang.

So how will the Russians be careful of all these dark snakes-inhabited ditches? The way Russia entered Syria was provocative from the very beginning as it reignited underlying anger, revenge motives and extremism. Military rudeness and not politicians’ wit marked Russia’s intervention in Syria. Those who sow the wind, reap the whirlwind.

This article is also available in Arabic.

Saudi journalist Mashari Althaydi presents Al Arabiya News Channel’s “views on the news” daily show “Maraya.” He has previously held the position of a managing senior editor for Saudi Arabia & Gulf region at pan-Arab newspaper Asharq al-Awsat. Althaydi has published several papers on political Islam and social history of Saudi Arabia. He appears as a guest on several radio and television programs to discuss the ideologies of extremist groups and terrorists. He tweets under @MAlthaydy.

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.