Syria also holds the key as a future energy cooridor to European energy independence from Russia. This is also why you will likely not see Greece nor Cyprus getting the boot from the Eurozone, as they will have a useful future in supplying natural gas from the Mediterannean Sea to the future United States of Europe. Additionally, Russia’s invasion of Georgia in 2006 had very little to do with serious threats against Russia itself. Georgia, too, was working on an energ pipeline from the Caspian Sea towards Europe. It was pre-planned, and even was mentioned by Putin himself (Additional sources: Here and here) — although you won’t hear the main reasons why. They even have planned to re-invade Georgia should a war with Iran kick off.
As the situation in Syria deteriorates with a threatened U.S. airstrike over President Bashar al-Assad’s chemical weapons, the Damascus regime still controls one of the largest conventional hydrocarbon resources in the eastern Mediterranean.
Syria possessed 2.5 billion barrels of crude oil as of January 2013, which makes it the largest proved reserve of crude oil in the eastern Mediterranean according to the Oil & Gas Journal estimate, besides Iraq.
But after two and a half years of war, exploration is at a standstill since international oil companies once operating in Syria have abandoned their operations as the violence escalates and sanctions target Syria’s energy sector.
Russia, the chief backer of the Assad regime, is the only remaining international partner still helping develop Syria’s oil and gas resources in the past year.
…This may explain one of the reason’s Russia has a huge stake in Damascus as its state-owned energy companies have been profiting off the despotic Assad regime.
In a recent interview, Assad said, “From a purely economic perspective, there are several agreements between Syria and Russia for various goods and materials. As for a loan from Russia, this should be viewed as beneficial to both parties; for Russia it is an opportunity for its national industries and companies to expand into new markets.”
Full article: Syrian Oil And Gas: Little-Known Facts on Syria’s Energy Resources And Russia’s Help (International Business Times)