The Deal Over Idlib’s Fate Keeps Putin in the Driver’s Seat in Syria

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan shake hands during a meeting to discuss the Syrian conflict, Tehran, Iran, Sept. 7, 2018 (AP photo by Ebrahim Noroozi).
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan shake hands during a meeting to discuss the Syrian conflict, Tehran, Iran, Sept. 7, 2018 (AP photo by Ebrahim Noroozi).
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Last month, Turkey and Russia, largely on opposites sides of the Syrian civil war, struck an 11th-hour deal to prevent a military assault by President Bashar al-Assad’s forces on the last remaining rebel stronghold of Idlib in northwestern Syria. While the agreement, which was reached in the Russian Black Sea resort town of Sochi, won’t end the Syrian conflict, it buys some time to attempt to find a sustainable resolution in Idlib, where there are some 30,000 rebel fighters, perhaps a third of them al-Qaida-linked extremists. But if all things fail, Russian President Vladimir Putin has crafted the agreement in […]

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