Resolution to the conflict in Syria requires an understanding of the Russian intervention, involvement, and interest therein. Putin’s interest in regaining the “influence that the Soviet Union once enjoyed in the Middle East” shapes how the West must engage Russia, as Ambassador John E. Herbst highlights in The Kremlin’s Actions in Syria, a new report from the Atlantic Council’s Dinu Patriciu’s Eurasia Center.

The report takes a comprehensive look at the Russian intervention in Syria. Comprising papers written by four authors—Frederic C. Hof, Vladislav Inozemtsev, Adam Garfinkle, and Dennis Ross—this report explores the conflict from the Russian and Syrian perspectives, as well as the implications of the Russian intervention for US foreign policy and the prospects of collaboration between the West and Russia.

“Moscow again surprised the world when it announced mid-March that its intervention in Syria had achieved its objectives and that it would withdraw most of its forces,” writes Ambassador Herbst.

For Putin, Syria is about more than the Middle East. According to Vladislav Inozemtsev, Russia wants “A free hand in the post-Soviet space.” The Russian intervention in Syria will continue to determine Russia’s place in the international community, even when, and if, it fully withdraws from Syria.

As Ambassador Ross writes, “there are no guarantees with Putin or Syria at this point.”