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Policy Analysis

Policy Forum

Russia's Deepening Military Involvement in Syria

Anna Borshchevskaya, Robert E. Hamilton, and Steven Zaloga

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October 5, 2018

Watch an expert debate on what Russia's growing military footprint in Syria means for ongoing American operations in the Levant, U.S.-Russian relations, and Washington's allies in the region.

Russia's deepening military involvement in Syria, Washington's decision to extend its military presence in the northeast of the country, and Russia's recently declared intention to transfer S-300 surface-to-air missiles to Syria further complicate the operational environment for U.S. forces and allies in the region. What are the implications of these developments for ongoing U.S. military operations in the Levant, U.S.-Russia ties, U.S. involvement in Syria and Iran, as well as for U.S. regional allies? To discuss these issues, The Washington Institutehosted a Policy Forum with Anna Borshchevskaya, Robert E. Hamilton, and Steven Zaloga, moderated by Institute senior fellow Michael Eisenstadt.

Anna Borshchevskaya is a senior fellow at The Washington Institute focusing on Russia's policy toward the Middle East. She is author of Russia in the Middle East: Motives, Consequences, Prospects (The Washington Institute, 2016). She previously held positions with the Atlantic Council and the Peterson Institute for International Economics, and worked as an analyst for a U.S. military contractor in Afghanistan.

Col. Robert E. Hamilton (USA-Ret) is a professor of strategy at the U.S. Army War College, and a Black Sea Fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute. He has served as a strategic war planner and country desk officer at U.S. Central Command, and writes often on Russian military affairs. He was the first director of the U.S. Ground De-Confliction Cell with Russian forces in Syria in 2017.

Steven Zaloga is a highly regarded defense analyst at the Teal Group and prolific author who specializes in the Russian and Soviet militaries and World War II. He is author of Soviet Air Defense Missiles (Janes, 1989) and has written technical analyses of Soviet and Russian systems for Jane's Intelligence Review, Jane's Defence Weekly, and Unmanned Systems magazine.