Russia is becoming a more active supporter of the embattled al-Assad regime in Syria, while Australia has confirmed Islamic State will be the target of new air strikes on the war-ravaged nation.
But what is the ultimate goal, and what is the ultimate outcome?
Massey University senior lecturer in security studies Negar Partow says there are two main goals: to get Assad supporters and opponents around the negotiation table, and to eliminate Islamic State.
But the problem is no one knows what the people on the ground actually want to happen, she argues.
Watch the video for the full interview.