By Ioannis-Sotirios Ioannou
With the situation in Syria entering into a new abyss regarding the ongoing diplomatic game, things are starting to become clearer in terms of Russia’s active support to the Assad regime. The Kremlin, especially after the announcement of the Obama-Putin meeting at the United Nations, added an important diplomatic dimension to the issue with the aim of negotiating Assad’s stay in power. Yet at the same time, a closer look at the map shows that Russia did not go “all in” with Syria but rather sought to re-establish a strong sphere of influence. Russia’s sphere of influence is a prerequisite for the survival of Assad and is now focused on securing the heart (or “center of gravity”) of Assad’s regime: Latakia – the home of Alawites.