Putin pays surprise visit to Syria

In July 2015, the defeat of Syrian President Bashar Assad appeared imminent. His troops, overstretched and exhausted, had lost too many men, and a string of humiliating losses meant the government controlled only a quarter of the country. Two months later, Russian warplanes streaked through Syria’s skies, hurling bombs at Assad’s adversaries and starting a reversal of fortune that, more […]

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ISIS struggles to defend its capital in Syria

The Islamic State is struggling to mount an effective defense of the Syrian city of Raqqa, the terror group’s headquarters, where local forces are making rapid headway in ousting the militants, the U.S. military said. The U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) say they have captured 40% of the city since June 6, when the final assault into Raqqa began.  “We […]

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Israel opposes Syria truce deal over Iran presence: official

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu opposes the southwest Syria ceasefire agreed by Russia and the US since it would enable Iran to solidify its presence there, an official said Monday. The July 9 accord creating a de-escalation zone in the Daraa, Quneitra and Sweida regions includes areas that have seen Israel retaliate over stray fire into the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights […]

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AP reports Kushner back channel with Russia involved Syria

President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and now top White House adviser Jared Kushner proposed a secret back channel between the Kremlin and the Trump transition team during a December meeting with a leading Russian diplomat, The Associated Press has learned. Kushner spoke with Ambassador Sergey Kislyak about creating that line of communication to facilitate sensitive discussions aimed at exploring the incoming […]

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Syria rejects international forces in safe zones

Syria on Monday dismissed the idea of foreign forces patrolling four so-called de-escalation zones that are to be established under a deal struck by Russia, Iran and Turkey, suggesting Damascus would agree only to Russian “military police” who are already on the ground. Syria planned to abide by the agreement signed in Kazakhstan last week, Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem told […]

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