The Russian intervention in September 2015 provided decisive airpower to Syrian and Iranian-backed ground forces, expanding Bashar al-Assad’s territorial control and solidifying the regime’s hold on power through parallel diplomatic efforts. Challenges associated with military integration materialized due to the Iranians’ perceived lack of Russian air support and misunderstandings over basing agreements. However, throughout the course of the Syrian Civil War, regularized military and political exchanges strengthened the Russia-Iran relationship while contributing to greater coherence between Moscow and Tehran on the limits and parameters of cooperation. Moscow and Tehran’s engagement in Syria illustrates a complex mosaic of overlapping interests, broader regional entanglements, and contending approaches to post-war reconstruction.
To learn more about this subject, read Nicole Grajewski’s analysis for the CSIS Understanding the Russian Military Today executive education program: https://www.csis.org/analysis/evolution-russian-and-iranian-cooperation-syria
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