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Putin’s Syria Gambit Delivers Again as Trump Sidelines U.S.

  • Kurds agree to Syrian government troops along Turkish border
  • U.S. pullback leaves Kremlin as dominant powerbroker in Syria
Government forces raise a Syrian natioanl flag in Tal Abyad, northern Syria, on Oct. 14.
Government forces raise a Syrian natioanl flag in Tal Abyad, northern Syria, on Oct. 14.Photographer: Omer Alven/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
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The Turkish troops who poured into Syria to battle Kurdish fighters abandoned by the U.S. may have inadvertently handed Russian President Vladimir Putin a strategic victory in the Middle East.

Less than a week after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan ordered the intervention, Russia underlined its dominance in the region by warning of the limits of its patience with the operation. The Kremlin’s message came after President Donald Trump imposed sanctions on Turkey that left many in Congress unimpressed following his withdrawal of the last 1,000 U.S. troops from territory held by the Kurds for seven years during the Syrian war.