Russia’s Loss is Turkey’s Gain in Syria


While ample attention has been paid to how Russia’s influence has waned in Central Asia amid the Ukraine War, there’s another theatre that’s primed for a reshuffling of the geopolitical deck: Syria.

Syria is home to one of Russia’s highest-profile post-Cold War foreign policy victories in the successful defense of the Assad regime against Islamic State and West- and Turkey-backed proxies. In exchange for the billions of dollars spent and an unknowable number of lives lost, Russia gained several prizes in its support of Damascus: a dependable regional partner, the continued existence of air and naval bases in Latakia, a rich market for Russian arms, and arguably most importantly the appearance of representing a credible alternative to Western power in a more multipolar global order. It was in Syria that Russia regained the mantle of a superpower, in style if not substance.


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