Russia is a major obstacle between the Syrian demonstrators and their liberation from the Assad regime. Russia has been the main opponent of UN Security Council resolutions against the regime while even the “timid” Arab League wants Assad to go. The reason for Russia’s opposition is quite simple: it fears that if the Assad regime falls, it will lose its only naval military base in the Mediterranean sea located in the coastal Syrian town of Tartus and thus lose influence in the region. The only way Russia will agree to the end of the Assad regime is if the Syrian opposition gives firm assurances that it will keep the maritime base open for decades to come.
Hurriyet Daily News, Turkey