Moscow's Game of Poker

Russian Military Intervention in Syria, 2015-2017

Tom Cooper

This richly-illustrated book provides an in-depth study of Moscow's political aims, and the strategy, doctrine, target selection processs, military technology and tactics, day-to-day operations, and the way the Russian military forces cooperate with diverse local allies ever since.
Publication date:
August 2018
Publisher :
Helion and Company
Series :
Middle East@War
Illustration :
105 b/w photos, 21 colour profiles, 2 colour ills, 3 maps, 12 tables
Format Available     Quantity Price
ISBN : 9781912390373

Dimensions : 297 X 210 mm
This book is temporarily out of stock.


• 1st (and only) book so far to provide detailed summaries of aerial operations by the Russian Air-Space Force and the Syrian Arab Air Force since August 2015
• Precise details on armament systems and experiences with their use
• Clear outline of the participants in the extremely complex Syrian Civil War and areas it impacts

In August 2015, the government of the Russian Federation embarked its military forces on an intervention in Syria. Ever since, there is no end of discussions 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. Foremost between the latter are 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 providing clear evidence that the Russian military is in no condition to directly challenge the NATO's eastern frontiers, it cannot be denied that through this action Moscow instrumented a turning point in the Syrian Civil War, and indeed one on geo-strategic plan. Organized and run in cooperation with very diverse allies - ranging from the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps of Iran (IRGC), Hezbollah of Lebanon, the Kurdishan Workers Party (PKK) and a myrad of local warlords and their armed militias - their 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 did succeed in saving the regime of the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Through this, this campaign created an absurd precedent in newest history: a brutal dictatorship involved in systematic elimination of hundreds of thousands on industrial scale, and frequently with help of chemical weapons, was even made popular within circles of far-right and far-left alike around the World. In turn, the resulting flow of refugees destabilized the European Union and large parts of the NATO - two parties considered the actual primary opponents by the government in Moscow - and increased the popularity of the President Vladimir Putin to unprecedented levels.
Illustrated by over 130 photographs, maps and colour profiles, ‘Moscow's Game of Poker' is providing a clear outline of the participants in this extremely complex conflict, and areas it impacts. It is providing a unique and in-depth study of Moscow's political aims, strategy, doctrine, target selection process, military technology and tactics, day-by-day operations, and the way the Russian Federation cooperates with diverse local allies. This story is told in combination with an exclusive insight into the similar campaign run by what is left of the Syrian Arab Air Force.


Tom Cooper's engaging volume sets out to examine the intentions and capabilities of Russia's military forces. More importantly, the author takes the time to explain the somewhat complicated geopolitical situation, before recounting the arrival of Russian airpower in Syria.
Airfix Model World

… books like this one are truly precious for extra knowledge.

The conflicts are made well accessible with these books and we do need that in these times with heaps of fake news and other forms of falsification of history!

Sharp and interesting "in action” photos and beautiful profiles (21, including the rare AWCS Tu-214R and the T-50 super fighter) of the main planes and helos involved in the operations, by Tom Cooper too, enrich this "must have" book.
Marco De Montis

… this is the most accurate book yet on Russia's air involvement in Syria.
Air Forces Monthly