Syria is the only Arab state to support Russia’s recognition of Donetsk and Luhansk as “independent” republics and its invasion of Ukraine. The day the war began, President Bashar al-Assad told his Russian counterpart that “Western nations bear responsibility for the chaos and bloodshed.” Then, on 2 March, Syria joined only four other states in opposing a UN General Assembly resolution condemning the invasion.

Assad’s support for Russia in Ukraine has been necessary given Damascus’ dependency on Moscow. Assad is forever indebted to Putin. Moreover, as a brutal dictator whose regime has been accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity, Assad has no compunction about supporting Russia in its brutal and illegal invasion of Ukraine.

With Russia having done so much to help turn the tide in Syria beginning in 2015, saying that the Ba’athist regime’s survival is largely attributable to Moscow’s military intervention is no exaggeration. Syria owes almost everything to Russia (and Iran) in the last eleven years. Without Moscow’s military support it is quite uncertain that Bashar Al-Assad would have prevailed in the civil war that has so far ravaged country. On these political points, Syria had no other option than to recognize Donetsk and Luhansk Republic and support Russia’s position on the conflict in Ukraine.

Syria has been more than just a Russian ally in recent times, it has developed a deep relationship with Moscow which patrons Damascus both in the Middle East and on the world stage.

Syrian recognition of Donetsk and Luhansk – albeit unofficially – was a pre-determined move agreed by the two countries. The over-the-top support for the invasion of Ukraine has also been a prominent feature where almost all Syrian officials have been speaking as regularly and as consistently as possible in defense of Russia.


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