In an interview with BBC World Service Radio, Carnegie’s Matthew Rojansky suggested that Vladimir Putin will ultimately “authorize support” for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to enter Syria to provide humanitarian relief. Russia’s major concern, he noted, is whether the ICRC mission is “purely humanitarian” or merely a “shield for a Western intelligence operation.”

In the end, Rojansky concluded, Putin’s non-intervention strategy toward Syria has proven successful. The fact that the ICRC is appealing to Moscow has made Russia the “indispensable player” and “linchpin for communicating with the Assad regime,” he said.