Russia, the Middle East and the conflict in Syria

Authored by: Derek Averre

Routledge Handbook of Russian Security

Print publication date:  February  2019
Online publication date:  January  2019

Print ISBN: 9780815396710
eBook ISBN: 9781351181242
Adobe ISBN:

10.4324/9781351181242-39

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Abstract

Over the past few years, Russia’s growing international influence has become a topic of increasing interest to scholars and the policy community alike. An important aspect of this has been Moscow’s continuing support for the regime of Bashar al-Assad in its prosecution of what Western commentators portray as a merciless campaign against opposition forces in the Syrian civil war. This support has survived heated disputes at the United Nations (UN) about Assad’s failure to ensure the protection of civilians and Russia’s refusal to allow UN Security Council resolutions condemning Syrian excesses to be passed; the alleged use of chemical weapons (CW) by regime forces against the opposition, notably in Ghouta in August 2013 – which appeared at one stage to be about to trigger Western intervention in the conflict – and on several occasions since; and finally, Moscow’s decision to intervene on the side of the regime with air strikes in September 2015, which appears to have altered decisively the balance of power in the conflict, with wider ramifications for politics and security in the Middle East.

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