This past weekend, Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin openly acknowledged supporting the Assad regime in Syria’s civil war against the Islamic State.
Russia has a lot invested in Syria, operating their only fully functioning naval base since the Cold War out of Tartus, as well as numerous other intelligence outposts, some of which are now in ISIS hands.
But one thing that Russia has no patience for is the spread of the Islamic State, as several of their southern regions are heavily Islamic in demographics, and there has been solid intelligence for over a year that ISIS wants to move into Russia.
So what’s Russia to do — other than the PR we’ve come to expect under Putin’s tenure?
Using the same flashy media and pomp that led up to Putin’s press conference last year, we get “Tank vs. Terrorist,” a full documentary of Russia’s growing involvement in the Syrian conflict.
It’s flashy, it’s catchy — and most importantly, it tells the world exactly what Russia plans to do: put boots on the ground where America has been reluctant to go.
It will be interesting to see the entire documentary when it releases next week, but the trailer is pretty specific: the intention is to go over to Syria and break things and kill terrorists.
America has been reluctant to have Russia in the mix, mainly because of their unconditional support of the Assad government, but airstrikes alone have proven insufficient to stopping ISIS from reaching and maintaining their objectives.
Syria has been a long time Soviet/Russia ally; let them keep that arrangement. But more importantly, let’s see if a few divisions of well-placed tanks will uproot ISIS once and for all out of Syria’s borders.
One thing is certain, the Russians are going to Syria, with three Antonov-124 heavy transports arriving in the past three days. How many more troops, tanks, and supplies will arrive is anyone’s guess — but with flashy PR, it seems to be a maximum effort on Putin’s part.