Sūrīyah

The Syria and Iraq mega-crises, the multiplication of new crises, and the old crises that seem never to die have created the worst displacement situation [13.6 million] in the world since World War II.     —UN High Commissioner for Refugees

The 2014 Body Count was astonishing: 76,000 Syrians (3,500 of whom were children); and 17,049 Iraqi civilians.

With its sweet little spot on the map, too many nations are all-too invested in the outcome of this Syrian crisis — all the MENA nations, and then some. The conflict is both regionally sectarian and more broadly geopolitical, inclusive of gas thoroughfare to Europe.

The situation in Syria teeters on the proverbial knife’s edge. The air force has pulled out of Deir ez-Zour, the third Syrian air base to surrender to ISIS. And the Syrian army is gradually in decline. This means that Iran, already burdened with fighting ISIS in Iraq, may soon be forced to utilise more of Lebanon’s Hezbollah in Syria.

All of this is playing out on Israel’s border, primarily around the Golan. An increasingly desperate situation in Syria may prompt Russia, who has just unloaded 32 tons of aid there, into more concrete action.

Al-Monitor reported President Assad as saying that the “Russian presence in different parts of the world, including the Eastern Mediterranean and the Syrian port of Tartus, is very necessary, in order to create a sort of balance, which the world has lost after the dissolution of the Soviet Union more than 20 years ago.”

Of course the Gulf Arabs support the Syrian rebels, as do the U.S. and Turkey.

And in the latest development, Russia has allegedly delivered six MiG-31 ‘Foxhound’ interceptors to the national army suggesting that it is not ready to abandon the regime and the Mediterranean naval port at Tartus.

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