Reflections

Why Russia Can't Quit Syria

May 4, 2017 | 01:21 GMT
Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) welcomes his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan during their meeting at the Bocharov Ruchei state residence in Sochi on May 3. Putin is considering Russia's exit strategy from Syria.
(YURI KOCHETKOV/AFP/Getty Images)

In the resort town of Sochi, on the Black Sea coast, Russian President Vladimir Putin today discussed a possible exit strategy from Syria with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The May 3 meeting reinforces the urgency with which Russia is trying to extricate itself from the situation it has found itself mired in. One of the topics for discussion was the implementation of de-escalation zones -- or so-called safe zones -- in Syria, part of a proposal to advance the political negotiations on ending the conflict. Elsewhere in the region, however, Syrian rebels walked out of talks in the Kazakh capital of Astana today, spoiling efforts to get Syrian belligerents to discuss a potential solution to the conflict. This highlights the difficulties Russia is facing and just how unlikely the Kremlin is to succeed in its plan of a smooth departure....

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