"Thatís a classic trap of escalation: final success seems to be gained very soon if you upscale efforts. At some point Americans plunged into Vietnam exactly this way. To break the impasse, one should declare that all goals of the Russian military presence have been achieved and then just vamoose", said the professor.
Assad needs escalation of Russian military involvement not only in the air but on the land too, added Valery Solovei. As for him, this can be achieved if private military companies (PMC) get into the game. Sure, PMCs in Russia are not fully valid, but some of them Ďde factoí act as recruiting agencies.
Another interviewee, Russian columnist and politician Mikhail Delyagin, also thinks that one of the main goals of the presidential meeting could be strategic coordination of further actions in Syria.
Besides, on his opinion, Bashar Assad by visiting Moscow extended thanks to Putin for saved Syrian statehood. Also, the visit might be a sign of a considerable upturn in Syria. "Simply because the leader managed to leave the country without being killed, and Syria did not collapse while he was away", Mikhail Delyagin said.
Stanislav Belkovsky, a Russian political expert, offered a sort of alternative version saying that the Assadís business trip had no political sense at all. "This wonít bring any benefit either to Bashar Assad or to Vladimir Putin. Both of them are only minimizing their Ďcapitalizationí by this meeting. For Putin, it is a demonstration of his influence over the Middle East, and for Assad it is a capital city where he is still welcomed", he said.
According to the expert, the visitís agenda included Russian air support of the offensive efforts carried out by "stunted and incapable" Syrian regular troops, and key problems of the Syrian conflict.
"Bashar Assad represents interests of 12% of Syrians, Alawi minority. Without a concept taking into account the role of Sunnite majority in formation of Syriaís future, it is impossible to resolve problems of this country. However, nothing of this kind was discussed at the Putin-Assad meeting, because none of them is prone to strategic understanding of these problems being today a source and a cause of the Syrian war", explained the expert.
Syrian president Bashar Assad held lengthy talks with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on October 20 in Moscow.
On September 30, Russia launched a military operation in Syria at the request of Bashar Assad. Since that day, Russian warplanes deliver air strikes upon the territory of Syria on a daily basis. Besides, a cruise missile attack was carried out by ships of the Russian Navyís Caspian Flotilla. The West criticizes Russiaís actions saying they are aimed at support of the Assadís regime, and the target of Russian military is allegedly a "moderate opposition". Russian Defense Ministry asserts the strikes are aimed against terrorists.