Russia's approach towards the crisis in Syria has attracted much criticism in Western and some Arab capitals. Its stance on Syria is informed by a number of considerations and interests, at both an international and a regional level, as well as in Syria itself.

Russia's approach towards the crisis in Syria has attracted much criticism in Western and some Arab capitals. Moscow has supported a United Nations-led process to establish a political solution in Syria, and has periodically received visiting representatives of Syria's opposition movement over the last 18 months, but it has refused to back any UN Security Council resolution threatening sanctions or military force against the Syrian government. It has, moreover, also refused to back any demand that President Bashar al-Assad step down as a precondition for talks. Russia has supplied military equipment to Syria during the conflict, though deliveries were reportedly halted indefinitely in July 2012.

Statements that Russia is simply 'protecting its ally' or 'protecting its arms market' are unwarranted. Its stance on Syria is informed by a number of considerations and interests, at both an international and a regional level, as well as in Syria itself.

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Turkey: the attempted coup and its troubling aftermath

The military coup attempted in Turkey on 15 July 2016 fizzled out quickly. But President Tayyip Erdogan has accused preacher Fethullah Gulen and his followers of engineering the coup without substantiation, and is using it as a pretext to purge the government, judiciary and military.

European air combat capabilities

The UK's vote to leave the EU risks worrying NATO allies about its reliability as a defence partner. To allay this concern, the UK could expand its collaboration with Europe on aerospace projects.