Vladimir Putin President of Russia has started to move his troops to Syria seeing an opportunity to move West. Is this enough for the UK government to act decisively?
There have been growing numbers of Russian troops over the last two months that have been sent to a Russian naval maintenance facility in Tartus, in western Syria. There is talk of moving the Russian naval base at Tartus to Rmaileh, north of Jableh. Large Russian ships currently have to be unloaded at Latakia. Relocating the base to Rmaileh would resolve the capacity problem and provide the Russian military deployment with a more integrated structure.
One of the reasons these movements are happening now relate directly to Turkey’s efforts to create a safe zone north of Aleppo in northern Syria. Russia opposes the zone, which would be located about 93 miles from Jableh.
Although it might appear the Russian activity at Jableh is designed to boost Syrian army operations, to strengthen the regime's political efforts and fight against IS, the long-term goal is a new military strategic balance in the region and Putin's aggressive land grab.
Putin must be thinking that the risk is worth taking, and the main reason to think so is the calculation that now Russia will have locked the West out of the conflict in Syria – at least as far as fighting the Assad regime goes.
Today’s UK politicians say the answer to the refugee crisis is at source, well the Russian President seems to have beaten them to it.