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Syrian army troops inside the Kweiras air base, east of Aleppo, Syria, Nov. 11, 2015 (SANA photo via AP).

Handing Syria to Russia Would Inflame Jihadism Abroad

Friday, Feb. 12, 2016

Thanks in large part to Russia’s intervention, the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad has registered a series of important victories against its armed opposition and now seems to be encircling Aleppo, once Syria’s largest city. While the civil war is far from over, the conflict’s current trajectory suggests a regime military victory in the western half of the country. But the United States and other so-called Friends of Syria would do well to consider the implications of what it means to watch from the sidelines while the Russian air force obliterates the Syrian rebels.

Set aside the moral stain of accommodating a regime that has done everything to its people from gassing them to stubbing out cigarettes in their eyes. If the West is mostly interested in Syria as an exercise in counterterrorism, then it’s worth thinking through what a Russian-backed regime victory could mean for jihadism in Syria and across the world. ...

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