This Aug. 14, 2016, picture shows heavily damaged buildings in the al-Khalediah neighborhood of the central Syrian city of Homs. Tehran helped Damascus win the civil war, but it might not be able to help it normalize.
Nearly nine years on, the Syrian government is winning the country's civil war, thanks in large part to strong Iranian and Russian support. But as it does, questions are rapidly emerging about how it might secure the peace -- and what that means for the influence of the allies that helped get it there. In particular, there is great uncertainty about Iran's deep influence in Syria, as Damascus strategizes ways to emerge from its economic isolation, restore its sovereignty over its internal affairs and reduce its exposure to Israel's repeated attacks. These imperatives, however, clash with some of Iran's strategy for Syria, creating a situation in which Damascus might have no choice but to cut Tehran's influence down to pre-war levels if it's ever going to find a way to rebuild the country....
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