From CNN several items of interest. In all instances including image thanks to CNN and author.
It appears I am wrong. That Russian naval flotilla en route to Syria their port of destination Tartus and not Latakia!
Russia not only waging war on behalf of the Assad regime but also with the intention of creating a permanent naval presence in the Mediterranean.
1. "Russia plans permanent navy base in Syria"
"(CNN) Russia plans to expand its supply base in the Syrian port city of Tartus into a permanent naval base, Deputy Defence Minister Nikolai Pankov said on Monday, according to state news agency TASS."
This map shows as of September 2015 those areas [at that exact moment] in red controlled by the Islamic state and areas in yellow as controlled by the Assad regime. Tartus south of Latakia. Click on image to see an enlarged view. Pay particular interest to the Aleppo/Hama/Homs/Damascus road. Control that road and you control Syria.
2. "What does Russia want in Syria? 5 reasons Putin backs Assad" by Matthew Chance
"what exactly is Russian President Vladimir Putin up to in Syria? What does Russia really want? Here are five key reasons Russia won't be leaving Syria any time soon."
1. "Protect Russia's interests in Syria."
2. "Maintain strategic interest."
3. "Fight Islamist groups."
4. "Bolster Putin's support at home."
5. "Sell Arms."
Whoever said nations [whatever nation that may be] engage in foreign wars for strictly altruistic purposes? NO ONE I might venture and add.