After Russia has joined the fight it's sure that Isis won't be able to take Syria like in Iraq as both Assad and Putin are against Isis.

What is the remaining American interest in elongating the war in that region with bombing runs and supporting rebels?

Won't it make more sense to let the government of the country take care of things instead of unwelcomed outsiders?

Last time USA did the same in Afghanistan during the 80s and we all know how it turned out.

As for the whole "Assad bombing citizens" thing there is more brutal killing happening in Africa for decades but Nato doesn't seem to be interested there one bit.

On top of that many of those bombing Syria like the US & UK are not willing to take in any refugees from the war they are escalating.

NATO definitely seems to have a different interest in the region that it's covering in the guise of protecting people from Assad

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    If the mission is strictly to stop ISIS/ISIL, possibly, but is that the only mission? Seems like there is also the claimed factor of Assad slaughtering citizens that they are trying to mitigate, as well. Oct 9, 2017 at 15:13
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    This question seems to be there only to convey subjective opinion. Someone could ask as well: "why won't Russia leave Syria ? It's sure that Isis won't be able to take Syria as both Assad, the Syrian rebels and NATO are against Isis."
    – Evargalo
    Oct 9, 2017 at 15:18
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    @OlivierPucher Unlikely, since we know for a fact that these rebels are very volatile and frequently change sides to join ISIS taking along with them the weapons and other supplies provided by USA. On the other hand I'm yet to hear of any russians joining isis all of a sudden.The main point being the rebels are ragtag militia groups with unpredictable behaviour and on top of that they do not have a face that you can speak or negotiate with unlike russian and syrian governements. Its extremely likely that once isis and assad is out these rebels groups would start to kill each other for power
    – Allahjane
    Oct 11, 2017 at 7:48
  • @Allahjane Isis was killing the rebels. If you have any evidence of them "frequently" changing sides you should post that evidence. They wouldn't need to bring the weapons with them if Isis took the weapons. That's what happened in Iraq. Isis took the US weapons after the US left. Assad has also made deals with Isis to work against the rebels. You seem to have a very one sided point of view.
    – userLTK
    Oct 11, 2017 at 8:02

1 Answer 1


The answer is not so simple.

In the wake of the Arab Spring that removed several dictators from Arab and North African countries (Tunis, Libya, Egypt), USA and other countries supported the rising against Al Assad in the hope of bringing up a democratic government (and, to be honest, the Al Assad family were never very liked by Western governments, neither). So, the decision for intervention was because there was a "window of opportunity" to effect a hopefully quick and relatively bloodless regime change due to the popular uprising.

In contrast with the above mentioned countries, Al Assad regime proved more resistant and difficult to beat. Additionally, and as it happened in Libya (but not in Tunis or Egypt), people fighting Al Assad were not able to form an united front and soon split into several groups; some of these groups later joined Daesh. The proximity of the unstable Iraq also helped Daesh to win influence in Syria.

The surge of Daesh did in fact help Al Assad, as it gave Western powers cold feet about the idea of further help to the rebels (or even a more direct involvement to end the civil war). It also gave Russia a pretext for a more open intervention in favor of Al Assad (while the pretext was targeting Daesh, the bombings were often directed to the "pro-Western" forces opposing Assad).

As I see it now the USA has three options1:

  • Pull their full force towards direct intervention, topple Assad and wipe out Daesh. Militarily doable, but risks worsening the already strained relationships with Russia (Assad's patron). Worse yet, it risks leaving the country at the hands of a government that does not have the supports needed to control the country (as happened in Iraq). Recently there have been reports of USA diplomatic personnel asking for this way.

  • Pull out completely and leave its former allies at Assad's "mercy". This is bad on two accounts:

    1. Leaving your allies alone will be remembered. If the USA just disengages and its allies are crushed, it will have more trouble finding new allies in the future.

    2. One of the usual charges against Western intervention in Middle East/Third World is their support of corrupt, autocratic and cruel regimes (cf. Saudi Arabia, Saddam Hussein's Irak before the Gulf War, Shah of Persia, Pinochet) as a way of getting stability and control in a country while getting from that country the resources it wants. Giving free reign to Assad just because he is fighting Daesh2 and ignoring he is a dictator would reinforce that perception.

  • Keep pressure and get to the point where USA allies and Al Assad get to sign a peace deal that ensures the safety of the allies and some face-saving for the USA (and hopefully some degree of democratization in Syria). This would be the most desirable alternative now, and there have been attempts at it. But now Assad's regime feels that they are about to win and negotiations fail or cease-fires are ignored.

Add to that that it is electoral year in the USA and that gives politicians little spare room to maneuver, so unless circumstances change dramatically there will be no change in the USA stance.

1 DISCLAIMER: As my record of lottery winnings can prove, I cannot see the future. The options listed there are, at best, an attempt to compile all what I have read from different POVs about the issue, but there must be other options left. Handle with care.

2 Make no mistake, Assad and Russia are not fighting Daesh. They are fighting anybody who opposes their control of Syria, it just happens that Daesh is one of those groups.

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    USA and other countries supported the rising against Al Assad in the hope of bringing up a democratic government is a joke! USA and its allies cooperate with Saudi Arabia (The most cruel dictatorship) in the hope of bringing up a democratic government to Syria? moreover other dictators in middle east like UAE, Qatar, Bahrain,... are US friends. But your next sentence is right: Al Assad family were never very liked by Western... , and it is mostly because of israel. If today Asad recognize israel, tomorrow Asad will be a good friend of US, and a good dictator.
    – user 1
    Jun 20, 2016 at 10:37
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    @SJuan76 That's a really good and unbiased analysis of the situation in Syria. Thank you for writing.
    – Philipp
    Jun 20, 2016 at 10:56
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    With Russian forces operating in the region there is no question of an invasion by the usa as that would mean direct confrontation with Russian forces operating with assad forces or in other words ww3. And what do you mean by usa abandoning it's allies? Who are these allies? Rebels or daesh? Both seem to be reported as uncivilised extremists group. Nato have no plans about what to do once Assad is toppled as the opposition is a circus of blood thirsty and power hungry extremists while assad govt even though pretty brutal can still maintain better control of the country
    – Allahjane
    Jun 20, 2016 at 12:42
  • Also i appreciate your neutrality in the answer very much :)
    – Allahjane
    Jun 20, 2016 at 12:44
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    It's also worth noting that the US is violating international laws by invading Syria; a sovereign nation and a member of the UN. Russia on the other hand, an alley of current government regime, has permission and an interest in seeing Assad staying in power.
    – Noah
    Nov 27, 2016 at 21:10

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