Yezid Sayigh discussed Russia’s strategy in Syria in an interview with Oksana Boyko on the  Worlds Apart program on Russia Today. He elaborated on the degree of Russia’s leverage over the Assad regime, its interaction with the West, and future prospects for a potential political settlement. 

Sayigh argued that the regime is unwilling and unable to change, so it resorted to a military confrontation. The regime did not accept Russia’s proposal for a political settlement, which was the most realistic one.  Sayigh pointed out that it does not have enough leverage to force the regime in accepting the proposal. 

In the case of the Syrian opposition, Sayigh clearly stated its mistakes at the beginning of the conflict. He pointed out that the opposition should have considered several steps to be taken before demanding Assad to step-down.

On the US- Russian military collaboration to fight the Islamic State, Sayigh explains that the US has come to terms that Syria is a Russian battlefield. The new administration will eventually adopt a similar approach to Obama with less involvement and effective Russian collaboration. 

This interview was originally broadcast on Russia Today.