Kazakhstan’s experts have commented on the air strikes conducted by the Russian forces in the beginning of September 30 targeting the militants of the so-called Islamic State, Tengrinews reports citing Kazakhstan’s 31 TV channel.
On Wednesday, September 30, days after Russian President Vladimir Putin addressed the UN General Assembly, Russia launched air strikes in war-torn Syria, targeting the IS group.
However, following the bombings, the United States and its coalition allies raised concerns about Russia's true aims in Syria - whether Moscow really strives to fight the IS militants or to preserve Bashar al-Assad's regime by striking rebel groups and its military base in Syria, Russia's major ally in the Middle East.
Kazakh political scientist Seidakhmet Kuttykadam believes that the terrorist group is not the only target of Russia in Suria. “Russia is demonstrating its force and has started striking IS militants. But it targets not only the IS. They (Russia) will hit the opposition groups as well. Russia will make every effort to preserve the Assad regime. The point is that this is virtually the last point of reference (of Russia). Russian base is located there,” he asserted.
Kazakhstan’s Senator and ex-Defence Minister Mukhtar Altynbayev claimed that Russia’s actions were completely legitimate: “This all is within the legal framework, because Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad appealed to Russia for help. Therefore, this decision was made. Only air forces will be involved. For this purpose, a headquarters has probably been set up to coordinate joint actions, so that the civilians are not affected.”
Meanwhile, Kazakhstan’s military experts treat the operation in Syria that involves Russian forces quite skeptically. “If the military operation had been launched, then this would have been the second Afghanistan. Perhaps, politicians have various interests, including Russia's involvement in the military conflict. It (military conflict) is a very big pressure on the economy, and Russian economy is not at its best now. There will be tremendous spending,” Afghanistan war veteran Vladimir Anatskiy said.
Experts also emphasize that Russia got an opportunity to test its military equipment in action.
They also believe that if Putin succeeds in fight against terrorists, then his image will be significantly improved against the background of the virtually futile air strikes, which the coalition forces led by Washington have been conducting over the past years.