Middle East Eye quotes Rafik Hariri Center Resident Fellow Faysal Itani on Moscow’s recent moves in Syria and Washington’s possible responses:

Faysal Itani, a Syria expert at the Atlantic Council, said a US military escalation in response to Russian action in Syria was not likely.

“As Russia’s military footprint in Syria grows, US options will only decrease and the risk of US action increase,” he told MEE. 

“The Syrian opposition may have just gained a formidable enemy in Russia, even as the US train-and-equip programme is collapsing.”

The presence of Russian forces made it harder for the US to implement an anti-IS safe zone or no fly-zone over northern Syria,” Itani added. 

“As for the deployment of US ground troops: this is not impossible if it is limited to targeting IS, but most certainly would not aim to counter the Russian military escalation which is, in reality, aimed at the insurgency, not IS,” he said.

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