The Syrian regime and its allies launched a major, multi-pronged offensive in Aleppo Province on October 15 in order to bolster the regime's foothold in Aleppo City. Both Russia and Iran likely aim to enable Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to reassert control over Syria’s largest city given the heavy involvement of their military forces in these operations. Russia and Iran will not limit their support to reinforcing the regime's defenses in its heartland along the Syrian coast.
The Russian air campaign in Syria continues to bolster the Syrian regime’s fight against the opposition. Russian warplanes provided air support to regime ground offensives against rebels in Aleppo, Latakia, northern Hama, and Damascus Provinces from October 17-18.
Russia’s involvement in Syria is facilitating ISIS’s territorial gains, while also strengthening Assad. Russia is supporting the Syrian regime’s offensives in Latakia, the al-Ghab Plain, and northern Hama. Russia also intensified strikes on rebel-held northwestern Aleppo, likely to set conditions for an imminent Russian-Iranian-Syrian regime offensive in the area.
Russian airstrikes continue to primarily target Syrian opposition groups throughout northwestern Syria, including areas along the Turkish border in northern Latakia Province. Russian warplanes violated Turkish airspace and harassed Turkish F-16s in at least two separate incidents over Hatay Province of southern Turkey on October 3 and 4, prompting an emergency NATO meeting on October 5. The Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) also claimed airstrikes targeting ISIS-held positions northeast of Palmyra.