Vox has not covered itself in glory when it comes to issues of war and peace. The reason, I think, is that they really want to believe that war is generally pointless. That leads them to seize on evidence that state violence is failing to achieve its goals even when such evidence is weak.
For example, they seized on an opinion poll stating that most Ukrainians did not want to have a civil war as evidence that there would not be a civil war.
Now they have seized on “evidence” to argue that Russia’s intervention is failing. (That sound is my head hitting my desk.) Their evidence? In one week of ground action with Russian air support, the SAA has only advanced a few miles on one northern front.
Do they know the Russo-Syrian operational concept? No. Do they recognize that the Syrian government is fighting on multiple fronts? No. Do they recognize that the Syrian government is worried about rebel enclaves inside its territory? No. Do they know anything other than unsourced claims from the Institute for the Study of War? No. (The ISW is not terrible, and ironically it holds the exact opposite opinion to Vox on most war-related issues, but it is not an unbiased source.)
Since they call the offensive a “fail,” I think it is fair to call the post a fail for a site that aims at explaining the news in a thorough, rigorous and wonky way.
Russia’s intervention may yet fail to stabilize the front lines and give the Syrian government a defensible frontier. But the evidence from Vox tells us nothing about that. For opposing evidence, read today’s New York Times.