Moscow's Game of Poker

Russian Military Intervention in Syria, 2015-2017

Tom Cooper

This revised edition includes over 100 full color photographs, maps and specially commissioned color artworks of vehicles, aircraft and combatants.
Date Published :
September 2022
Publisher :
Helion and Company
Series :
Middle East@War
Illustration :
1 b/w photos, 110 color photos, 21 color profiles, 2 diagrams, 11 tables
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding. : Paperback
ISBN : 9781804510902
Pages : 96
Dimensions : 11.7 X 8.3 inches
Stock Status : In stock


In August 2015, the government of the Russian Federation embarked its military forces on an intervention in Syria. Ever since, there has been no end of discussion about Russian military capabilities and intentions – in Syria and beyond. To many, the performance of the Russian military – and especially the Russian Air-Space Force (VKS) – in this war was a clear demonstration of advanced technology, improved training, fearsome firepower, and great mobility. To others, the military operation only experienced limited success and exposed a number of weaknesses. Prominent amongst the latter were aircraft ill-suited to the necessities of expeditionary warfare, and a gross lack of advanced weaponry and equipment.

While the military component of their intervention can only be described as having provided clear evidence that the Russian military was in no condition to directly challenge NATO’s eastern frontiers, it cannot be denied that through this action Moscow effected a turning point in the Syrian Civil War, and indeed one on geostrategic level. Organized and conducted in cooperation with very diverse allies – ranging from the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps of Iran (IRGC), Hezbollah of Lebanon, the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and a myriad of local warlords and their armed militias – through the combination of intentional bombardment of insurgent-controlled parts of Syria, and indirect protection for the IRGC’s own military intervention in the country from a possible counter-intervention of the West, the Russians succeeded in saving the regime of the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Moscow’s Game of Poker provides a unique overview and analysis of Moscow’s political aims, strategy, doctrine, target selection process, military technology and tactics, day-by-day operations, and the way the Russian Federation cooperated with local allies. This story is told in combination with exclusive insight into the similar campaign run by what was left of the Syrian Arab Air Force.

This revised edition of Moscow’s Game of Poker now includes over 130 full color photographs, maps and specially commissioned color artworks of vehicles, aircraft and combatants.

About The Author

Tom Cooper is an Austrian aerial warfare analyst and historian. Following a career in worldwide transportation business – during which he established a network of contacts in the Middle East and Africa – he moved into narrow-focus analysis and writing on small, little-known air forces and conflicts, about which he has collected extensive archives. This has resulted in specialization in such Middle Eastern air forces as of those of Egypt, Iran, Iraq, and Syria, plus various African and Asian air forces. Except for authoring and co-authoring more than 30 books - including about a dozen of titles for Helion’s @War series - and over 1000 articles, Cooper is a regular correspondent for multiple defense-related publications.


"...provides great references in the form of color photos of vehicles, equipment, environment and uniforms."


"The research that went into this one is superb. We are able to follow the flow of events to see just how everything panned out. Add to it the usual excellent choice of photos and the color profiles and maps that are standard fare for this series, and you have a book well worth reading."

- ModelingMadness.Com

"...will be of interest to modelers and aviation historians alike."

- AMPS Indianapolis

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