By Lili Bayer
A cessation of hostilities may be formally in place in Syria, but fighting, airstrikes and maneuvering among world powers have far from halted. Last week, we wrote that the new ceasefire in Syria, or in diplomatic-speak, the much less binding “cessation of hostilities,” will not last. On Monday, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said that the alliance is concerned about a “significant Russian military buildup” in Syria. Moscow has indeed committed more planes, air defense systems, weapons and personnel to the Syrian conflict over the past months. However, for both strategic and financial reasons, Russia’s military intervention in Syria will likely remain limited.
Strategic Goals in Syria
Moscow’s aims, like Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s own objectives at this stage in the conflict, do not include helping the Syrian regime regain control of the entire country. Syria, like Iraq, no longer exists as a sovereign and unified entity.