The situation under the Assad regime continues to deteriorate as it becomes ever more like a civil war. The British government supporting the rebels and Russia supporting Assad.
Moscow profits from exporting arms to its ally, and it depends on the regime’s good will to maintain Russian access to a Mediterranean naval port. But these are only marginal interests. Russia's real motivation to support the Assad regime is by the fear of what would happen if the state collapse -- a fear he confronted most directly during the secession of Russia’s North Caucasus republic of Chechnya, which he brutally suppressed in a bloody civil war and counterinsurgency operation fought between 1999 and 2009.
Since this editorial was created the situation in the region has deteriorated further with the emergence of the ISIS militia and their aim to create an Islamic caliphate that ignores all existing political borders.