The al-Assad’s opponents, although they claim their
The role of Russia since the start of the conflict has been to supply al-Assad with technical and military advisers as well as weapons. At the end of September 2015, Russia has been involved in direct military operations targeting al-Assad’s opponents, although they claim their intervention is aimed at eliminating ISIS (Spaulding, 2015). With Russia’s clout in world politics waning since the Cold War, it seeks to act as an antagonist to the USA’s influence in the region, under the framework of a “zero-sum” competition for power (Dunne and Schmidt, 2017: 110). Moreover, Russia’s interests lie in holding influence and stabilising both the Eastern Mediterranean (Litsas, 2017) and Syria itself with its Russian-dependent economy. This further poses a question regarding whether or not Russia can be sure about its position and safety of its economic interests if the Syrian state would collapse (Freedman, 2010).