Translated by Ollie Richardson for Fort Russ
8th May, 2016
Russia has always been big on celebrating Victory Day, but this time they found a new way to surprise everyone – a parade reminiscent of the victory over Nazi Germany was held this year in Syrian Latakia, reports the TV channel N24. According to the report, this only proves once again that the withdrawal of Russian troops from Syria is not up for question– nothing in the Middle East can happen without the participation of the Kremlin.
In Russia, Victory Day over Nazi Germany for many years is celebrated with great pomp. Attention is focused on the past, and not on the future. This year, the Kremlin has come up with a new feature: a military parade in Syria, which is supposed to recall the triumph over Hitler.
“It is always necessary to reckon with us” – that’s the message of this military parade. The Kremlin is celebrating the victory over Nazi Germany 71 years ago, even at its air base in Syria’s Latakia. These images could cause parts of the West to be surprised, because many there believe that the Russian troops had left Syria. In mid-March, Putin announced plans to withdraw most of Russian soldiers from Syria.
Kristof Vanner, reporter for N24: The withdrawal of Russian troops from Syria is out of the question, which this military parade proves. Without the participation of the Kremlin in the Middle East, nothing will happen in the foreseeable future.
Moscow has only slightly reduced their presence and withdrew the excess part of its combat aircraft. Over twenty fighter jets and helicopters are still in Syria, supporting Putin’s ally Assad. Despite the truce with the moderate rebels, they make sorties ostensibly aimed only against terrorist groups such as al-Nusra and ISIS.
The Syrian Observatory of Human Rights activists accuses Russia of airstrikes, including on civilians, something that Moscow denies.
Igor Konashenkov, spokesman for the Defense Ministry of the Russian Federation: This organization with an address in London deliberately disseminates false information. The purpose of this is sabotage. They want to disrupt the truce.
Only in rare cases it is possible for the international media to verify the information due to the extremely dangerous situation. Independent reporters are not working in most areas of hostilities. The only thing that is undeniable: the civil war-torn Syria remains in a deep state of chaos.