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Josh Rogin and Eli Lake

White House Is Weighing a Syria Retreat

Stunned by Russian aggression, Obama may give up on booting Assad and try for local cease-fires.
Partners no more.

Partners no more.

Photographer: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

A week into Russia's military intervention in Syria, some top White House advisers and National Security Council staffers are trying to persuade President Barack Obama to scale back U.S. engagement there, to focus on lessening the violence and, for now, to give up on toppling the Syrian regime.

In addition, administration officials and Middle East experts on both sides of the debate tell us, Obama's foreign-policy team no longer doubts that Russian President Vladimir Putin intends to prop up President Bashar al-Assad and primarily target opposition groups other than the Islamic State, including those trained by the Central Intelligence Agency.