Russia’s Forever Wars: Syria and the Pursuit of Great Power Status

Download Russia’s War in Syria: Assessing Russian Military Capabilities and Lessons Learned

September 2021 marks the sixth anniversary of the Russian Federation’s intervention in the Syrian civil war. A patient, flexible strategy set against irresolute and muddled Western strategies allowed Moscow to achieve its initial aim of preventing the fall of the Bashar al Assad regime. The Kremlin also re-established itself as a player in the geopolitics of the Middle East. Barely two years into the intervention, pundits were hailing the Kremlin’s victory. Four years after these premature declarations, much of Syria remains outside the control of Russia and its allies, who seem to have no idea how to turn their initial military success into a political victory. The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), backed by a small but potent U.S. military presence, still control the…

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