As a four and-a-half year civil war continues in Syria, Russian forces are setting up a military air base near the Syrian city of Latakia. Russia, a longtime Syrian ally and Assad supporter, has been airlifting supplies and weaponry into the coastal base. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that Russian personnel are training the Syrian army on how to use the military weaponry. Russian intervention is more than it first appears. Putin claims his country's efforts in Syria are about the fight against "terrorist aggression." However, Russia's involvement likely has more to do with a desire to maintain a hardened presence in the Middle East and to be ready for whatever may come next in Syria, including a post-Assad situation. With an increase in Russian forces on the line, the United States must devise a plan on what to do next. The Obama administration is considering military-to-military talks with Russia on their increased presence in Syria. However, getting involved in another American on-land intervention could lead to a fiery escalation on both ends. So, the United States repeatedly calls for Russia to join a U.S.-led coalition to destroy ISIL rather than taking unilateral actions which are proving to be increasingly problematic.