Nato criticises Russia's Syrian intervention

At a meeting on Thursday Nato urged Moscow to help in the fight against the IS terror organisation and to stop supporting Assad's regime in Syria. The West must finally admit that there is no alternative to major military intervention, some commentators maintain. For others Russia is only hurting its own interests with its attacks on Syrian opposition forces.

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Göteborgs-Posten (SE) /

No-fly zone would have prevented much suffering

The US and Nato must finally say goodbye to the idea that there is an alternative to major military intervention in Syria, demands the liberal daily Göteborgs-Posten: "All or nothing - that's the way the US and Nato seem to think. And on the whole the result was nothing. … But there is a midway between all and nothing, namely something. The US and Nato should have set up a no-fly zone a long time ago, and Sweden would have been glad to help. … That would have created a safe zone in Syria watched over by Swedish, European and American military. If possible under a UN flag. There should have been a zone where helpless Syrians who feared for their lives could flee to, where [the UN Refugee Agency] UNHCR and the [UN's] World Food Programme could provide them with food, medicine, schools and a roof over their heads. And where it wasn't forbidden to work and take care of one's needs."

The Times (GB) /

Putin putting his country in danger

With his military intervention in Syria Russian President Vladimir Putin is not only turning the Sunnis in the Middle East against his country but he is also promoting radical Islamism in Russia, the conservative daily The Times warns: "Across the Gulf, preachers are urging Sunnis not just to fight the holy war but also to take arms against the Russians. Rewards are being offered for the capture of Russian soldiers. The northern Caucasus, far from being shielded by Russia's airstrikes, is likely to become a battleground in Mr Putin's back yard. Domestic enthusiasm for war will melt when dead soldiers are returned to their families. ... Now, as in Ukraine, Mr Putin is being revealed as a leader who overestimates his powers."

Le Figaro (FR) /

Russia strengthening the IS with its attacks

As in the Chechen war, Russian President Putin is using the fight against terror as a pretext for weakening opponents of the regime, the conservative daily Le Figaro points out, but warns that this time the danger for the whole world is much greater: "In the eyes of the Kremlin chief, the method developed in Chechnya has proven worthwhile. However Russia is running considerable risks in sweeping away everything it its path in an area were two competing coalitions are vying for supremacy. Some are already worried that a simple spark could ignite a third world war. Let's hope things don't go that far. Nevertheless the risk exists that the opposition could be driven into the arms of the best armed group. That could well be the IS, which has been spared by the Russian strikes so far. It would be a bitter irony if the means used by Vladimir Putin and Bashar al-Assad had the same effect as those employed by George Bush in the name of American imperialism to eliminate Saddam Hussein."

Il Sole 24 Ore (IT) /

Syrian war rebulilding old walls

The Syrian war is worsening the already tense relations between Nato and Russia, the liberal business daily Il Sole 24 Ore comments: "On the rubbles of Middle East nations crushed under the wars a new wall in the heart of Europe is rising. The face-off between Russia and NATO is getting tougher and tougher: the Siraq (Syria and Iraq) war is moving along the trajectory of a crisis that extends beyond the Middle East and its regional reach. From the bloody arena of the Levant, the East-West standoff rebounds in Europe, reopening the wound of Ukraine. ... As if the problem, after Russia's intervention, were no longer Assad and the caliphate. ... The world seems to be going back to before the collapse of USSR, when on the two sides of the wall there was no doubt about who was the friend and the enemy. "