Russian military police reportedly raided last week in Syria against Iran-backed militias in Aleppo’s international airport, local media reported. Afterward, several Iranian militia leaders, seen as the last section of tensions between Iran and Russian forces in Syria, were arrested.
Since the start of the Syrian civil war in 2011, Russia and Iran have built a strong military presence in the country to support the loyal forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.
Since then, Iran has distributed thousands of Islamic RevolutionaryGuard Corps (IRGC) and Shiite militants to Syria. Russia officially entered the Syrian conflict in September 2015 to help the Assad regime.
However, as the wars have been declining, Russia and Iran seem to be competing for influence in the war-torn country, as the Syrian regime’s forces are once recovering most of the areas controlled by the rebel forces.’ Pie slice’ Analysts say the long war in Syria has created a slight crack between the two allies.
Phillip Smyth, a researcher at the Washington Near East Policy Institute, who closely followed the Syrian-backed militias in Washington, said: There are definite tensions between Syria and Russia between Iran. Washington”You see the incidents that have taken place in the flashpoint zones in Aleppo, such as the raid in Aleppo. Every country’s deputy wants it to be stopped,” he told VOA.
In the last two years, there have been similar incidents across the country.
According to local reports, recently, two parts of the Syrian army have caused fatal clashes in different parts of the country.
This is the result of differences in the power struggle between Syrian military leaders loyal to Russia or Iran, according to
observers.”I believe who can control what is what, and what pie slice it has. But I don’t believe that it will lead to some big conflicts between Iranian and Russian forces,” said Smyth. Tactical differences some experts go beyond these disagreements because the strategic partnership between Russia and Iran in Syria is still linked to Iranian forces, especially in Russia, to keep the territory and to provide manpower to the Syrian regime.
I never believe Russia will leave Iran, said Anna Borshchevskaya, a researcher of the European Democracy Foundation, which focuses on Russia’s policy in the Middle East.”The disagreements they made, trying to carve their influence in Syria, which is very well understood by Russia,” he told VOA in a telephone conversation. Their relationship is, of course, a complicated relationship. But it is a desire to keep the American influence in the region and the anti-American movement. “At the tactical level, [Russia and Iran] will sometimes experience differences,” Borshchevskaya said. But they agree on the big picture.
The United States has been involved in the war against Islamic State militants since 2014 when the terrorist group declared its caliphate in Syria and Iraq.
The US-backed SDF (Syrian Democratic Forces), which declared victory against IS in March, now controls more than a third of the Syrian territory.
There are about 2,000 troops in the US-controlled areas under Kurdish leadership. The US administration, however, said it would only keep about 400 soldiers in these areas after the war against IS ended.
Russia and Iran constantly oppose the US military presence in Syria.
Economic competition some analysts believe that, unlike those included in the Syrian war, Russian and Iranian forces are now controlling larger regions,
and that both countries are seeking economic opportunities in the country.”Now there are a lot more friction points between the two countries than before,” said Jowan Hemo, a Syrian economist who follows the economic pattern of the war.”Naturally, you will see that they compete to win contracts with the Syrian regime, including the energy and energy sectors and other types of investments,” he told VOA.
In 2018, Russia had exclusive rights to produce Syria’s oil and gas. Russia also signed a contract to use the Syrian port of Tartus for 49years, while Iran was offered to use the Port of Latakia partially.
The economist Hemo, both countries want to monopolize Syria for a long time, because each has lent a large amount of lending to the Syrian regime during the war.”I believe such a rivalry in Syria will continue, but in the end, the economic sovereignty of Russia will prevail.”