In an interview with BBC World News, Carnegie’s Matthew Rojansky argued that Russia’s stance on Syria is beginning to shift as the prospects for Assad’s long-term rule diminish. “Russia is going to want to craft a kind of balanced solution that maintains their interests” both now and in a post-Assad scenario, he added.

Moscow’s priority is to ensure that “Russia remains pivotal in the solution” and continues to serve as the “critical broker” between Assad and the opposition, Rojansky explained. In the end, Russia’s leverage “depends on Assad’s belief that Russia is his best friend” and will remain a “back channel” of support, Rojansky concluded.