Russia's relations with Syria, which began in the time of the USSR, go back to 1946. Since then, events in the Middle East have naturally brought the two countries increasingly closer together, and the Syrian Arab Republic has become Russia's most important partner in the Middle East. While Russia has established military bases in Syria, it has also met almost all of Syria's military and economic needs since the 1980s. This led to a traditional proximity between the two countries that still survives.
Various other details also stand out in Russia's approach to today's Syrian crisis. Like all regional countries, Russia regards the presence of radical groups among the opposition as a threat. Russia keeps supporting Assad due to the probability of a bloody conflict in a post-Assad Syria.
Meanwhile, Russia's recent official disapproval of the Assad government's treatment of its people shows its deep concern about the human suffering unfolding. Despite Russia's policy of support for Syria, it also frequently states it does not side with Assad government and simply intends to stop violence in the country and forestall any external interventions.
Time works against the people in Syria. In the last three years, some 120,000 people have lost their lives in the Syrian civil war.
An estimated 5,000 Syrians are dying every month according to the United Nations.
Over the last month, Assad's forces have stepped up their air bombardments and only last week killed more than 200 people in four days, half of them being children, in Aleppo. This was the "most intensive government bombardment of Aleppo since the beginning of this conflict" according to Human
Facing poverty and hunger, people need humanitarian assistance of all kinds. Especially in the opposition-controlled areas where it is impossible to find food, five million innocent people are threatened by starvation. Especially due to the absence of healthy drinking water for a year, children in particular are threatened by epidemics.
A total of 5.5 million children, 436, 000 under the age of 5, are facing death, under the most terrible conditions.
Although such a horrific picture attracts the world's attention to Syria and the international community is ready to provide all sorts of humanitarian aid, they cannot be delivered to the Syrian people especially to those living at the checkpoints controlled by Assad forces, for such attempts are thwarted by regime forces.
Russia can be an intermediary in aid reaching the people. It can assist international aid organisations getting humanitarian aid to reach Syria which has not been permitted so far by the regime in power.
On December 10 last year, the regime showed signs of relenting and announced aid deliverance under some conditions. Since then the United Nations tried to step up aid activities via Turkey and the regime in Syria prevented the move. Russia is, therefore, the best option now to get the aid through to the suffering Syrian people.
The Russian state, which enjoys close relations with the Assad government and Iran, can provide effective solutions on the issue of opening up a humanitarian corridor, the sending in of planes for aid purposes or lifting the blockade on humanitarian aid, even if only in some places. Russia can also play a major role in getting aid from countries like Turkey into Syria. It can supervise the process.
With Russian backing and support, the suffering people in Syria can be evacuated from the country.
As conditions worsen every day, another important and urgent issue is to remove the people from the country, especially from the zones under heavy shelling. Russia's involvement in this process will surely facilitate the evacuation of the innocent civilians
Russia is the only country that can ensure distribution of aid to people in embattled Syria. And in chosing to play the role Russia, we are sure, will receive all kinds of material and moral assistance from the world.
The author is a well-known author and a political commentator based in Turkey. All the views and opinions expressed in the article are solely those of the author and do not reflect those of Times of Oman.
Adnan Oktar's article on Times of Oman: