MESOP NEWS TOP OF THE AGENDA : Military Operations in Syria Coming to End, Says Putin /ANALYSIS BY RELEVANT SOURCES

Russian President Vladimir Putin said that joint military operations by Russian and Syrian government forces to fight terrorism in the Middle Eastern country (Guardian) are “wrapping up” and that a political solution will be the next step.

Putin made the comments on Monday while hosting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Sochi (RFE/RL) ahead of a gathering with Turkish and Iranian leaders set for Wednesday. Assad’s last visit to Russia was in 2015, when it began its military intervention (BBC) to back the Assad regime in Syria’s civil war. The trip is believed to be only the second time Assad has left his country (Al Jazeera) since the war broke out in 2011.


“The Russians are attempting to transform their role from that of an aggressor, threatening the opposition’s existence, to the main party capable of ensuring calm,” Asaad Hanna writes for Chatham House.

“Assad’s ally Russia now dominates the negotiating process, meaning there is little pressure on him to accept real elections—or any election before his term ends in 2021. A political solution under his terms would be to incorporate opposition members into a national unity government under his leadership,” Zeina Karam writes for the Associated Press.

“Because Assad’s government is deeply corrupt, the United States should also rule out providing the regime with aid for reconstruction. There is, however, one way in which the United States can still do good: easing the suffering of the millions of Syrian refugees outside the country,” former U.S. Ambassador to Syria Robert S. Ford writes for Foreign Affairs.