Why Is Russia In Syria? Here’s Why The Kremlin Got Involved Another Country’s Civil War
The following is an excerpt from KASIA KOVACS | March 30, 2017 | ibtimes.com |
Syria has been in the throes of a violent Civil War for the past six years — one that involves an authoritarian leader, U.S.-supported rebels and radical Islamic groups all fighting each other. And if that's not messy enough, there's Russia.
Never the stranger to controversy, Russia was roundly criticized last year for its month-long bombing of the Syrian capital of Aleppo. The Human Rights Watch said the Russian campaign against Aleppo, which caused several civilian deaths, was a war crime.
But to fully understand why Russia got involved in Syria’s war in the first place, it’s important to understand a bit of history of the two nations’ relationship.
Cold War Friendship
Let’s first rewind about 70 years. In 1946 — back when Russia was the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics
(USSR) — the two countries signed a secret agreement in which the USSR promised Syria to help with the formation of the Syrian Arab Army. At the time, the sides between the Cold War were being formed: It was the West vs. the USSR and its allies — and Syria was certainly one of those allies.
Decades later, in 1971, that relationship was reaffirmed when the Soviet Union opened a naval base in the Syrian city of Tartus. This gave the Soviets a stable presence in the Middle East.
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