I won’t be surprised that they are successful. These are the top-notch units of the Soviet military with full air superiority. Most importantly, unlike our forces, the Russians could care less about hearts and minds - they will be ruthless and that is what it takes to win. Commitment.
With that said though, my entire life (an Army brat then an officer) was dominated by the cold war. We always made their rank and file units out to be far superior than they actually were in hindsight. The same goes today for the bulk of the Russian military - poor equipment, poorly trained, and poor battlefield command.
Putin is simply representing their interests (as he should) in the vacuum this administration has created after they uncorked the bottle of Islamic extremism that the established governments mostly squashed. The Middle East is a far bigger mess now than it when we entered Afghanistan and I suspect history will show that we did little to address the biggest threat - Iran.
For Christians this is a very interesting time given Ezekiel 38 and 39. I am not a prophecy buff, but the stage is certainly being set for Israel to be surrounded by Islamic nations committed to her destruction (assisted by Russia and China) just like the good book predicted. When it happens is not known to us, but you can’t deny the appearance of the prediction coming to fruition.