Donald Trump has given Vladimir Putin a win in Syria by withdrawing America’s support from the rebels fighting Bashar al-Assad.
The Washington Post reports that Trump made his decision a month ago, before he met Putin at the G20 in Hamburg.
Russia and the United States seemed on the verge of a confrontation at the time. America had shot down a regime fighter jet that was attacking its allies in Syria. Russia responded by suspending a military hotline with the United States.
It supports Assad, calling him a bulwark against terrorism. Read more
Chemical Weapons in Syria Would Cross “Red Line”: Macron
France’s new president, Emmanuel Macron, has warned that his country could strike unilaterally if more poison gas is used in the Syrian conflict.
“If chemical weapons are used on the ground and we know how to find out their provenance, France will launch strikes to destroy the chemical weapons stocks,” he told European newspapers this week. Read more
Why America and Russia Are Closer to Confrontation in Syria
Russia has suspended a military hotline it maintained with the United States to avoid clashes in Syria and warned that it may shoot down any “flying objects” west of the River Euphrates.
The escalation comes after an American fighter jet shot down a Syrian warplane on Sunday that was attacking rebel ground forces supported by the United States in the vicinity of the Tabqa Dam. Read more
Bashar Assad’s Big Push to Recover His Eastern Border
Bashar al-Assad hadn’t had control of his Iraqi frontier for years. It’s a major headache; it’s allowed Sunni rebels to supply themselves from Anbar, a favorable route for Gulf states hoping to keep the war going.
It’s also allowed the Islamic State to slide supplies from its shrinking Iraqi domains to its shrunken Syrian ones.
The Islamic State famously demolished the literal border wall between the two countries. That was right after they blitzed across it to capture Mosul in June 2014.
Now Assad’s Iranian and Iraqi allies are hoping to rebuild the border and thereby secure the regime they’ve fought so hard to preserve. Read more