The Syrian Civil War: A Turkish, Russian Proxy War About to Escalate?

Russian forces were successfully pulled into the Syrian Civil War in September of 2015 by the Assad regime, which desperately needed brute Russian force to repel rebel attacks. Instead of seizing upon the opportunity to broker a peace agreement between rival political factions and transition away from the no-longer viable Assad regime, Russian President Vladimir Putin has continually bolstered his efforts to prop up the Assad regime. Not only has Putin overcommitted Russian forces to intervene in Syria’s domestic affairs, he has imperiled Russia’s broader national security interests by transforming the conflict into a multilayered proxy war.

Although civil discontent against the unresponsive governance of Syria and the Assad regime’s violent crackdown on dissenters sparked the Syrian Civil War, the conflict has long been fueled by external interference on behalf of regional revivals that hope to further their own agendas. Where Iran and Hezbollah attempted to save the Assad regime from a strong rebellion at the onset of the conflict, the opponents of Assad responded by arming rebels. While it been widely been painted as proxy war between the US and Russia, as well as a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran, the Syrian Civil War is now largely a proxy war between former-Assad friend Turkey and Russia.