Oct 29, 2015 By Olga Oliker - csis.org/publication/russia-syria
Q: What is Russia trying to accomplish with its military operation in Syria?
A: Russia’s primary goal in Syria is to support the Assad government and help it to stay in power. To do this, Russia, working with Syria and Iran, is targeting groups opposed to Assad. Russia is doing this for several reasons. First, Assad is a long-term friend of Moscow’s. Second, Russia’s position has long been that governments have a right to do what they want within their borders, without foreign interference, including (perhaps especially) putting down opposition movements. Third, Russia truly believes that Assad is Syria’s best hope for stability, and does not see a plausible likelihood of a moderate opposition taking power.