The Heat: Russia’s role in the Middle East

The Heat

Over the last four years, Russia has positioned itself as a major player in the Middle East.

As the United States has pulled back, Russia has stepped up its commitments. That’s never been more apparent than in Syria, where Russian and Turkish troops are now conducting joint patrols in northeast Syria.

In October, Russia and Turkey reached a deal to move Kurdish fighters out of the border area in hopes of creating a safe zone for refugees.

Turkey has hosted over 3 million Syrians during the conflict. Russia remains Syria’s most powerful ally, and if it can bring an end to the eight-year civil war, Russia will have succeeded where the United States failed.

Russia has also forged diplomatic ties with Israel, Iran and Saudi Arabia – positioning itself as a geopolitical and military actor.

To discuss all of this:

  • Samuel Ramani is a geopolitical analyst and doctoral candidate at the University of Oxford.
  • Reese Erlich is a journalist and author of “Inside Syria: The Backstory of Their Civil War and What the World Can Expect.”
  • Cenk Karatas is a senior analyst on Turkish political affairs.
  • Victor Olevich is the lead expert at the Center for Actual Politics, a Moscow-based think tank.

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