Andrej Kreutz raised a poignant question in his book from 2007, "Russia in the Middle East: Friend or Foe," well before the Syrian civil war erupted in 2011. Even though Russia has been an important player in the Middle East since the Cold War era, its influence in the region has burgeoned since Syrian President Bashar Assad invited Moscow into the Syrian civil war in 2015.
Even though the Syrian crisis continues to influence politics in the Middle East and the global balance, the European Union and major European powers, like the U.K., Germany and France, have continued to be the most reluctant and ineffective actors dealing with the crisis.
There is an ongoing debate on Turkey's foreign policy decisions vis-a-vis the brewing crisis in Idlib. A rhetorical whirlpool has emerged around tensions with Russia, the significance of U.S. and EU statements, and Turkey's homework for Idlib.