Vol. 4 No. 2 (2021): Pakistan Journal of International Affairs

Hybrid Warfare: A Reorientation of Russian foreign policy in Syria

Published 2021-06-30


The primary focus of this research is to understand Russian hybrid warfare as a tool of Russian Foreign policy in contemporary Syria. Although hybrid warfare is not new, however Russian focus on hybrid warfare appears to signal a reorientation of its foreign policy, most visibly in Syria. Russian resurgence has caused a stir in the international community, particularly after the 'colour revolution' in Georgia in 2008. The threat seems to have grown with the Crimean Annexation of 2014 and the alleged Russian role in the U.S presidential election 2016. Russian hybrid warfare became noticeable in the Middle East, specifically in Syria after the infamous 'Arab Spring' 2011. The use of controlled warfare tactics in countering the enemy, aiding the proxies, and public opinion formation (misinformation); working aside from the governmental presentation has accelerated the international concern, as the legal uncertainties in the international law, leaves room for use of hybrid means. Consolidation of Bashar Al Assad regime, aided by Russian intervention, on the pretext of 'fighting terrorism' in 2015, also highlighted Russian resurgence in the Middle East. This research would primarily study the prospects of understanding hybrid warfare as the significant emerging generation of warfare in contemporary times, understanding the nature of Russian hybrid warfare, its implication in the Middle East and in particular on Syria. The Paper will in particular look at Maskirovka - the military strategy employed by Russia, which explains its hybrid tactics and aims particularly in Syria.