What is Russia`s motivation to increase its military presence in Syria? — Interview to GCSP

October 7, 2015

Russia realises that the terrorist threat coming from ISIS is a clear danger to the country and its allies from the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO). Russian allies in Central Asia may be particularly vulnerable to the growing ISIS threat, especially as ISIS expands its influence beyond Iraq and Syria borders. No less significant is the threat to the Northern Caucasus, which is mostly peaceful now, but definitely a very fragile region. For this reason, Russia has decided to act, and if needed it will act independently. Of course, this is in cooperation and in support of the recognised government in Syria, which for Russia is Bashar al-Assad’s government, who has proven to be a strong ruler with an efficient army. In this sense, Russia’s assessment is that we can help Bashar al-Assad with weaponry and instructors to counter radical Islamism and terrorism in Syria. If others would like to cooperate with us on addressing this particular threat from ISIS, rather than addressing Bashar al-Assad’s removal as the ultimate goal, this can be on the table for discussions with such players as Turkey, the United States and the EU.