Syria: What can Russia’s air force do? -BBC

“…the key to Russia’s strategy. It is to consolidate the Assad regime, to relieve the pressure points and to ensure that its ally remains a factor in any future diplomatic settlement.

To this end – and there are strong indications of this even from Russia’s initial air strikes – Moscow will hit any opponents of the Syrian regime where necessary.

Russian air power is not there to roll back the opposition forces and enable the Assad regime to regain control over the large areas of the country that it has lost. It is about buying President Assad time; changing the regional and diplomatic calculations. And to this extent Russian air power could prove a decisive factor.”