Russia in Syria: More Footprint Than Boot

A September 14th, 2022 report of the U.N.’s Commission of Inquiry on Syrian Arab Republic found  conditions similar to those that led to the wider Syrian Civil War eleven years ago.

Moscow has borrowed heavily on its credited strategic gains in Syria to pay off its deep deficits in its war of aggression against Ukraine of February 2022. In April and May 2022 Russia reportedly pulled troops from Syria to fight in Ukraine. In April Moscow Times reported that Putin had recalled Wagner Group and Syrian mercenaries from Libya to fight in Ukraine. And in late August 2022 Reuters reported that Russia was moving its S-300 anti-air systems out of Syria to defend against Ukrainian Armed Forces’ anticipated offensive.

Abandoned Russian bases were reportedly turned-over to Iranian irregulars and Hezbollah, alarming Israel and demonstrating Russia’s flagging reliability as a Middle East power broker.

The U.N. report suggests that Russian efforts to build-up Syria-based military units capable of keeping Syria’s Assad regime in control are falling short as Syria unravels.

As Russia’s imploding western and middle eastern security picture unfolds requiring Chinese economic ties to keep from melting down entirely, Russia narrows its Eastern and Central Asian peripheral security options to more extreme risks and measures as Moscow’s old regional rivals and victims see opportunities in Russia’s weakness.

In the alternative to spiraling insecurity, Russia depends on and cedes influence to China’s burgeoning empire for its overall conventional security.


Skip to content