The recent arrival of the Russian Marines and Air Force to the Syrian port-city of Tartous has generated a significant amount of interest around the world, as the possibility of Russia's direct military intervention becomes the focal point of the war on ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham).
Should the Russians begin military operations in Syria, what role with the U.S. led "Anti-ISIS Coalition" play in combatting the terrorist group? Will they coordinate with one another? Will they avoid one another?
It seems both sides have their own strategy to combat ISIS, but the U.S. has had far more experience fighting the terrorist group, despite their minimal success in obstructing their growth and advance in Syria and Iraq.
Russia seems poised to take a similar approach to the U.S. led Coalition; however, they are not seeking the assistance of the neighboring Arab countries to combat the terrorist group.
Instead, the Russians appear to have a contingency that involves another world power that was absent from the U.S. led Anti-ISIS Coalition: China.
On Tuesday morning, a Chinese naval vessel reportedly traveled through Egypt's Suez Canal to enter the Mediterranean Sea; its destination was not confirmed.
However, according to a senior officer in the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) that is stationed inside the Syrian coastal city of Latakia, Chinese military personnel and aerial assets are scheduled to arrive in the coming weeks (6 weeks) to the port-city of Tartous - he could not provide anymore detail.
Russia has made it abundantly clear that they are taking an active role in this conflict, but the news of the Chinese military to Syria provides more insight into their contingency.
It appears that Russia is not going to combat ISIS alone: the plan is similar to the U.S.' idea of a "coalition" of air forces, but far more involved on the ground; this is something the U.S. and their allies have avoided since the inception of their war against ISIS.
Despite all of this, Russia and the U.S. appear to be at it again; however, this is no space or arms race, they are actively flexing their muscles through their proxies (U.S.: rebels and Russia: Syrian Army).