A former CIA analyst and author has described how the destruction of Syria, during its years-long civil war, could contain lessons for the future of Ukraine.
In a piece for the Financial Times titled “Russia’s myth-making in Syria was a template for the horrors in Ukraine”, David McCloskey says that despite at first bearing few similarities, the “long-rumbling Syrian conflict and the front-page war in Ukraine” both have one thing in common.
“Russia broods over both these seemingly distinct battlefields,” he writes.
McCloskey then lists three tactics Russia is using in both conflicts – the erasure of the individual and focus on ideology, the distortion of truth and the wrecking of critical thinking, and cruelty as a badge of honour, and an end in itself.
“In Syria, the regime’s supporters were fond of painting the slogan “Assad or we burn the country” across the pockmarked walls of emptied towns and neighbourhoods,” he writes.
“The goal became the suffering of others, the country a sacrifice for Assad. The same dynamic is at work in Ukraine.”
He concludes: “The Kremlin’s narrative on Syria and Ukraine offers a dark warning, a vision of the threat posed by “Russkaya Pravda”, Russian truth. To us — and to Syrians and Ukrainians — falls the burden of resistance.”
You can read the full article here.
McCloskey is not the first person to raise the Syria-Ukraine link. The commander of the Ground Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, General Oleksandr Syrsky, said earlier this month that, in the battles for Bakhmut in the Donetsk region, the Russians have switched to "Syrian-style" scorched earth tactics.
"The main forces of the Russian Federation here are representatives of the private military company 'Wagner.' Without sparing anything, they are losing significant strength and perishing. Very soon we will take advantage of this opportunity, as we once did near Kyiv, Kharkiv, Balaklia, and Kupyansk," Syrsky said.
Having switched to the so-called "Syrian" tactic of scorched earth, the Russian troops are mainly seeking to destroy buildings and positions with airstrikes and artillery fire, the general explained. However, he maintained that the Ukrainian defense of Bakhmut continues.
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