Russia in Syria. The Previous History and Present Concerns

  • Andrej Kreutz University of Calgary


Dramatic development of events in Syria of the last 6 years in an unprecedented way
impacted not only the Middle East countries, but also a number of other, the USA included,
and probably indirectly affected the international system as a whole. Said events claimed at
least 400,000 casualties and immeasurable loss in terms of material and cultural value. They
additionally focused the world attention on the relatively small country of more that 2000
year-long history, extraordinary diversity of cultural heritage and tradition.
The article attempts at casting light at the Syria conflict in all its complexity. Particular
emphasis was put on the role Russia (formerly the USSR) plays in it. The country’s influence
is possible due to the withdrawal of colonial forces.
Acting as a natural successor of the USSR, Russia continues to be present in the region taking
advantage of its geopolitical importance and building a zone of influence. In recent years
Russia has been solidifying its presence utilizing the bloody conflict that grew to something
more than just civil war involving external forces. Said forces refer to various reasons and
motives to justify any open or covert intervention due to the escalating situation and the
increasing threat of spreading of the conflict to the whole Middle East, and therefore the
danger of a world war.
The article analyzes the numerous internal factors conditioning the civil war and points to
its causes intensified by a cumulating conflicts of various origin – ethnic, religious, cultural,
historic. Furthermore it determines conflicting economic and strategic interests threatened
by external forces struggle connected to the involvement of neighboring and world powers.
Regardless of other conflicts and events impacting the destabilization of international
situation, the Syrian conflict is currently the most serious in terms of world peace and
international order.
Key words: Syria, civil war, Middle East, history and politics, colonial forces, Russian-
American rivalry, Islamic State, ethnic and religious conflicts, international terrorism