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Russia in Syria–Allies wielding a double-edged sword



In recent news, Russia has launched an offensive front into the Syrian civil war that has been raging for the last 4 and a half years. This past week in of itself has seen Russian aircrafts and ground troops entering Syrian land. The UN secretary general Jens Stoltenberg has called the move “unacceptable” and even “dangerous.” The top priority of the UN is the violation of Turkish airspace, of which there has been an increase since Russian aerial presence has increased in the area.

On top of the ground and aerial support, Russia has launched naval vessels close to the Syrian coast. Russian officials are denying any increase in military activity in the area, with officials being quoted as saying that there will be no ground operation in Syria. In sharp contrast to what officials had said in the Crimea crisis, Russia has stated that it would attempt to prevent any sort of “volunteers” from entering into Syria.

For the Pentagon, this boost in Russia military presence is both a boon and a pestilence. Russian troops have been fighting the ISIS militants entrenched among the Syrian landscape; however, it seems that Russia is using this as an excuse to also attack the anti-Assad rebels currently fighting regime loyalists.

President Obama has made it abundantly clear both here and in the UN that the Russian forces are essentially a welcome help but shouldn’t have any alternate agenda to pursue while in Syria. Obama told an assembled UN that it would be unwise for Putin and Russian armed forces to be helping the Assad regime in Syria; however, Putin has also made it clear that Russia supported the “legitimate” government of Syria, which ends up being the Assad Regime.

Russia has just funded and provided weapons to the Assad regime over the past few years, but due to the international outcry to battle the ISIS militants, it has used this opportunity to pursue its own interests.

Russian missiles have been launched into Syrian lands which Russia claims to have been ISIS strongholds. It would seem that their claims have no real substance in them, since multiple sources have reported that ISIS had no presence in that area, yet in fact is a known rebel hideout.

One may ask their self, “Is this is just another Ukrainian crisis in the works or something much larger?” Russia has been on the decline since the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 90s, and now there seems to be some sort of desire for Russia to “flex” its muscles on the world stage. Both socially and economically, Russia has the perception of being a “backward” country that is still struggling to find its place in the world besides being a “bully.” Now I would venture so far as to suggest that Russia might be in a worse state now than it ever has. To my knowledge, there has been no significant increase to Russia’s economy, but there has been increased spending in its military. How does it afford these military operations? It remains a mystery for now, but hopefully the information will surface soon enough.

Is it possible for Russia to simply be trying to uphold some sort of agreement it has had with its allies? Maybe this could just be Russia trying to regain some lost honor in an area that has seen multiple Russian mistakes. Ever since the Ukraine, Russia seems to be on the defensive in the international community, and this is definitely not helping.

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