Syria’s Assad gets a prize with American troop withdrawal, Turkey-Russia deal,

Zeina Karam, The Associated Press

[…] Backing from Russia and Iran also has enabled Assad to simply outlast his opponents. With the help of Russian airstrikes since 2015, the Syrian military has recaptured town after town from the rebels. Abandoned and exhausted, the insurgents have repeatedly submitted to deals with Assad that allowed them to leave their besieged enclaves with safe passage to the north.

But the Russian-Turkish agreement is not all good news for Assad.

It allows Turkey to keep control over a significant chunk of northeastern Syria, a belt of land 120 kilometers (75 miles) wide and 30 kilometers (19 miles) deep that it captured in its invasion. Turkey already holds a larger piece of the border in the northwest, captured in previous incursions. […]

Politically, Tuesday’s images of the leaders of Turkey and Russia poring over maps and drawing up the future of northern Syria illustrated just how irrelevant Damascus is when it comes to negotiations.

Perhaps intentionally, Assad for the first time visited areas captured from rebels in Idlib province, the last enclave they held in Syria. State TV showed Assad greeting military commanders and watching troops fire artillery. He talked of rallying “popular resistance” against Turkey “to expel the invader sooner or later.” Läs artikel