So the Russians appear to be in Syria fighting alongside the Syrian government troops. We’re droning stuff in the region. The Iranians were carrying out strikes against ISIS in the region recently. The Turks are warring. The Israelis are freaking out over the Iran deal. The Saudis are involved.
This in a very small piece of real estate. A piece of real estate which just happens to be right where some would like to plant a giant natural gas pipeline which could supply Europe. Right now Europe must rely on Russia for natural gas.
Which now effectively ends the second “foreplay” phase of the Syrian proxy war (the first one took place in the summer of 2013 when in a repeat situation, Russia was supporting Assad only the escalations took place in the naval theater with both Russian and US cruisers within kilometers of each other off the Syrian coast), which means the violent escalation phase is next. It also means that Assad was within days of losing control fighting a multi-front war with enemies supported by the US, Turkey and Saudi Arabia, and Putin had no choice but to intervene or else risk losing Gazprom’s influence over Europe to the infamous Qatari gas pipeline which is what this whole 3 years war is all about.