All of them condemned it and all of them said it would fail.
In the US there was much gloating talk — joined in by President Obama himself — about how the Russians had landed themselves in a quagmire.
There was also furious condemnation of alleged Russian bombing of civilians, and a well-nigh universal complaint that Russia was not bombing the Islamic State but was bombing the supposedly “moderate” opposition to President Assad.
There were even complaints that Russia was materially assisting the Islamic State by bombing its supposed opponents, and by driving Syria’s Sunnis into its arms.
In a particularly fantastic claim, it was even claimed Russia was deliberately bombing Syrian civilians to force them to flee to Europe so as to undermine Chancellor Merkel, who has put herself in a vulnerable position through her open door policy.
All these claims were wrong or untrue.
Predictions of a quagmire turned to panic as is it became clear around the New Year that Russia’s air operation was turning the tide of the war.
Claims the Russians bomb civilians have never been proved and come with no evidence.
Claims the Russians do not bomb the Islamic State are disproved by the Russian Defence Ministry’s detailed reports — which are never contradicted or refuted by the only source which matters, which is the US military.
As for claims Syrian Sunnis are fleeing Russian bombs for Europe, or are rushing to join the Islamic State, the evidence on the contrary is that they look forward to liberation from jihadi terrorists by the Syrian army.
All these claims now anyway lie discredited as a result of the recent truce.
If the Russians really were intent on driving Syrian civilians to Europe in order to undermine Chancellor Merkel, why would they propose and negotiate a truce? If they really were intent on physically annihilating President Assad’s opponents, why would they offer them a truce and a place at the negotiating table?
The truce is in fact a spectacular achievement — and vindication — of Russian policy.
There has been no truce in Syria ever since the peace agreement reached in Geneva in 2012 collapsed because of the Syrian opposition’s demand that President Assad go as a precondition for a ceasefire and talks.
Instead there has been three years of war, which has left Syria devastated.
It is that war — not Russian bombs — which has made so many Syrians refugees, and which has led to the rise of the Islamic State.
The US and the other Western powers have at all times, both before and during the war, backed the Syrian opposition’s demand President Assad go before they will cease fire or talk.
Not only did the Western powers back this demand — they actively supported the Syrian opposition with arms and supplies as it prosecuted the war.
It is the Syrian opposition’s maniacal demand President Assad go — in other words that he hand them the victory they have never achieved on the battlefield — which explains why there has been no peace.
By supporting that demand and helping the Syrian opposition prosecute the war the US and the Western powers bear direct responsibility for prolonging it.
The situation had got so bad last summer they told the Russians the Islamic State would be in Damascus by October.
Russian operation by contrast has brought about the truce — one which the Russians have demanded right from the start of the Syrian crisis.
During the aerial campaign the Russians did not kill Syrian civilians. They saved them.