I only ask because Russia has set up an army base around Palmyra, which is contested ground between Assad's core Syria and ISIL's Syrian province:
Russian ground forces have set up a forward operating base in the central Syrian city of Tadmur, the home of the ancient ruins of Palmyra, and installed an air-defence system to protect the site. ...A Pantsyr? Did I miss the unveiling of the ISIL Air Force?
A Pantsyr-S1 air-defence system was seen in the footage as well as at least three BTR-82A and three BTR-80 armoured personnel carriers (APCs), suggesting a Russian combat unit has been deployed to the base.
Why is this advanced air defense weapon pushed so far east where it could potentially interfere with the American-led campaign against ISIL?
Granted, the range isn't that great. But it does have passive detection capability that could provide information to Russian interceptors, I suppose.
And the Pantsyr can be used to provide point defense to Russia's longer ranged air defense missiles. Let's see if those follow even though there is no reason Russia needs air defenses against any rebel force.
Well, there is one big reason for Russian air defenses in Syria.