Russia is not in Syria for the Syrian people but for its own interests.
Russia has interests in Syria but that includes ties with the Syrian people... otherwise they could simply go to ISIS or the Kurds and say let us keep Tartus and a few air bases and we can be your air force.
Putin has said many times that Russia is there to destroy the terrorists because there are a lot of Russians and eastern european terrorists there and if they succeed they will only head back home to Russia and try the same so it makes more sense to kill them in Syria before they get skills and know what they are doing.
It is also about countering US plans to break the country so they can pump UAE gas through Iraq and Syria to Turkey to Europe.
1. Russia has an exit strategy which it can execute at any time
If they had such a strategy then why build a naval base at Tartus or the new airfields they are building in Syria?
Sounds like the opposite of an exit strategy.
2. Russia will want to wrap up the Syrian Question rather sooner than later. A 20 year long insurgency in Afghanistan is a nightmare
Not currently. It is an excellent place to test new and existing weapons in scenarios that are not hugely costly. They manage to rotor through aircrews to get real combat experience for their pilots, and their Special Forces are doing all the things the special forces are supposed to be doing. (and a fantastic job too I might add).
There is no military solution to the Syrian Question, the solution is a diplomatic one and involves regional players like Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Iran.
Military situation will reduce the diplomatic options for some parties... Russian military action has transformed the diplomatic options for the Syrian government forces in the last few years.
I'll leave the US/Israel out of the question as they are problematic
They are both there for very specific reasons.... military action can render those reasons meaningless which would result in US and Israeli exit strategies being executed instead.
Turkey is involved for specific reasons too, so correctly identifying what they are and offering them an acceptable alternative is the way forward.
4. Syria, or better said, Syrian regions like the areas held by the SDF or the headchoppers are expendable from a Russian perspective. Much more expendable than Belarus or the Ukraine for instance.
Actually the ISIS regions will be the easiest to justify eliminating... that is why they are there afterall. It is the Kurds supported by the west that will be the problems... but keep attacking the oil and they will likely lose interest.
As such I don't find my theory far-fetched at all. The best option would be rapprochement versus Turkey and Saudi Arabia without US interference. Or working out a deal regarding the SDF held areas wherein the Turks get in a conflict situation with the US
If the roles were swapped around and it was US that needed to negotiate with a hostile Turkey and Saudi Arabia I would have said no way, but I think Russia is probably the best country for Assad to have on his side negotiating some sort of long term solution, or fighting for something better.
The Syrian Question should be looked at from a long term perspective. The Russian intervention is nearing its 6 year anniversary and I personally don't see them staying for another 6 years.
There are Russian forces in South Ossetia and NK... and they have been there rather longer than 12 years... there is no time limit or time table... the Russians in Syria are not spending billions a day like US interventions anywhere.
Also the remark that Russia's intervention is basically a humanitarian mission, that's nonsense of course. More than half the population lives off ~700 USD wages stacked away in Soviet style hamster cages apartments but somehow the State has time and money to play the Good Samaritan somewhere far away in the desert?
Sounds like your addiction to Kool Aide is effecting your judgement.
Russia is always on the brink of collapse or the most powerful in the universe.
Russia has not doubled its defence spending... why do you think this is an expensive operation they can't afford to continue with?
And if they leave in 6 years time are they taking everything with them and closing the air bases and naval ports?
Syria is located next to Israel and currently HATO member Turkey and US occupied Iraq... it will be wanting a Russian and Iranian presence on a semi permanent basis. I don't think the rent will be high.
If the Americans want to stay, who is going to kick them out exactly?
Of course... America is invincible... I keep forgetting that...
Turkey will be holding some of the land they annexed, golan heights style.
I doubt the US or Turkey will be pumping enough money into the region to allow it to recover to even a fraction of peace time quality of life levels and when other parts of the country start developing and growing those parts are going to wonder if they made the right choices.
Turkish tanks and helicopters don't survive long against a modern well equipped enemy... I really don't think they want a conflict and bad relations with Russia... without Russia Turkey has no alternative and therefore no leverage with the US and the west.
Russia has shown the stomach and fortitude the west clearly lacks... compare Syria with Libya... in particular over the last few years the changes made and in which direction.