Russian military involvement in the Syrian conflict has become one of the most significant activities of Russia in the Middle East in the last decades. Just five years ago Russia stayed neutral as the NATO intervened in Libyan civil war and any Russian military involvement in the Arab Spring chaos seemed unimaginable. Russian officials always declared support of Assad regime, but nobody expected Moscow to send military forces to protect Assad. And then, last September Russian Airspace Force launched its first strikes at the Syrian armed opposition.
There were many ideas articulated about the motives of such active Russian involvement in the Syrian affairs. Today, after the USA and Russia try to impose a ceasefire, it is time to summarise and synthesise versions and opinions about Russian motives in Syria: (more…)