Russia has been serving as a buffer between Israel and Iran amid the fighting in Syria. But Israel's restraint appears to be fraying – making the state of relations between Iran and Russia critical to managing any outbreak of fighting.
Russian and US-allied forces avoided conflict during Friday's airstrikes on alleged Syrian chemical weapon sites. But Moscow sees the US's ongoing involvement in Syria as nothing more than spoiler. Still, analysts say, Russia needs the US to help diplomatically.
Much blood has been spilled in Syria's civil war, and many of Assad's neighbors have supported forces that sought his ouster. Whether to reengage with someone accused of crimes against humanity is more than just a tactical decision.
The veteran prosecutor decried Russian obstruction at the UN and a lack of political will in her decision to quit the war crimes probe into Syria. But others cite progress and note justice often does not come until the conflict is over.
Suspension of a CIA program that armed and trained the rebels leaves them with few options. Some may join the US-backed anti-ISIS campaign, but others may join jihadists to pursue their campaign against Assad. Some already have.
A surge in anti-Western sentiment that fed into President Erdoğan's campaign for broader powers is one factor behind the crackdown. Some NGOs have been closed and their workers expelled, though the need for war relief is undiminished.
The Tanf garrison used by the US coalition to train militias to fight ISIS sits on a highway Iran would like to control for its strategic advantage. Forces are gathering and shots have been fired as fundamental interests clash.
A UN pilot program funded by Germany offers educated Syrian and Jordanian partners the training to launch their own start-ups, promoting self-reliance while benefiting the financially stressed host society.
From the Kurds' perspective, many chapters in their history of military cooperation with the US have ended in disappointment. In Syria, the Kurdish YPG is the key US ally in the fight against ISIS, and they have expectations.