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Even the Saudis Are Turning to Russia as Assad’s Foes Lose Heart

  • ‘Hard power’ forces Riyadh to give up on Syria regime change
  • Lavrov set to visit as Saudi focus shifts to containing Iran
Sergei Lavrov

Sergei Lavrov

Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg
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Saudi Arabia may be the latest country to give up on regime change in Syria and fall in line with Russia’s successful campaign to shore up President Bashar al-Assad.

There are signs that the nations, long at odds over Syria, are now cooperating over a settlement that would leave Assad in place for the time being. The Saudis hosted a meeting of Syrian opposition factions last month, pushing for an accord between hardline anti-Assad groups and others less insistent on his immediate departure. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov arrived in Saudi Arabia for talks -- before an expected visit to Moscow by King Salman next month -- and held a news conference with Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir in Jeddah on Sunday.