Assad’s Russian-Backed Gains Do Not Change U.S. Calculus on Syria

Pictures of Syrian President Bashar Assad at a checkpoint to the Hamidiyeh market, Damascus, Syria, Feb. 21, 2016 (AP photo by Hassan Ammar).
Pictures of Syrian President Bashar Assad at a checkpoint to the Hamidiyeh market, Damascus, Syria, Feb. 21, 2016 (AP photo by Hassan Ammar).
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With Russian-backed Syrian forces close to encircling Aleppo, thereby cutting off supply lines for the rebels holding the key city, the Syrian civil war seems to have entered a new phase. Russia’s intervention has clearly reversed the course of the conflict, dimming prospects for meaningful compromise by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s newly ascendant regime in peace talks to end the fighting. Instead, the pro-regime coalition seems to have decided to win the war in western Syria on the ground, with the recently agreed cease-fire simply diplomatic cover for a slow consolidation of territorial control. Since Russia’s intervention last fall, critics […]

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