Political map of Russia & the former Soviet Union 30 September 2015 (Syrian Civil War): The expansion of Daesh (ISIS or ISIL) in northern Iraq in 2014 (Northern Iraq offensive (June 2014)) prompted a US-led intervention in support of the Iraqi government (Military intervention against ISIL). Facing new opposition in Iraq, Daesh increased its activity in neighboring Syria instead, exacerbating the civil war already raging in that country (Syrian Civil War). Wary that the Syrian government (Bashar al-Assad)—which had close military ties with Russia (Russia–Syria relations)—might fall either to Daesh or to US-backed rebel factions (Syrian opposition), the Russians began mounting airstrikes in support of the regime (Russian military intervention in the Syrian Civil War).