Russia's Supreme Court says the war in Syria isn't a war
Russia’s Supreme Court has refused to recognize the war in Syria as a war. Rejecting an appeal by 10 Syrian citizens who were denied temporary asylum in Ivanovo, the court ruled that “the events taking place on Syrian territory have the specific characteristics of a counter-terrorist operation, not a classic military confrontation.” On these grounds, Russia’s Supreme Court concluded that the plaintiffs could not have suffered “individual persecution” or “inhumane treatment.”
The Syrian Civil War began in 2011. According to the United Nations, roughly five million Syrians had fled the country by 2017 — more than half of them went to Turkey, while many others left for Lebanon, Egypt, Iraq, and Jordan.
In the fall of 2015, Russia intervened militarily in Syria, officially in order to fight terrorists from ISIS. Several Western countries have accused Moscow of using the war against ISIS to conceal its real goal: rescuing the Assad regime. During a live call-in show in early June, Vladimir Putin defended the military intervention as an invaluable opportunity for Russia’s armed forces to gain experience on the ground. The president also reasoned that “it’s better to fight them over there, than here in Russia.”