With Syrian President Bashar al-Assad struggling to remain in power against rebel groups and ISIS, Russia provides Assad active military support. Moscow seeks important Mediterranean naval presence at a base in Tartus. In creating an intelligence sharing alliance with Iraq, Iran and Hezbollah, Russia asserts its role in regional affairs. It seeks to be an arbiter for Syria’s geopolitical future. In overflying Syrian territory to set back ISIS, Russia shares flight information with US to avoid an accidental confrontation between air forces. Israel remains concerned that Assad’s ouster would create an absence of control on their northern Syrian-Golan border.
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