Russian S-400 air defense missiles being deployed at the Hemeimeem air base in Syria, about 50 kilometers south of the border with Turkey, Nov. 27, 2015. (Russian Defense Ministry Press Service pool photo via AP)
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Turkey's downing of a Russian jet has played into the hands of Syrian President Bashar Assad by bringing Moscow on board with his bitter opposition to Ankara, experts say.Assad has long accused Ankara of "terrorism" for its backing of Syria's opposition.Its policies have put it at odds with Turkey from early in the Syrian conflict, with Ankara regularly calling for Assad's departure and incurring the wrath of Damascus in return.In addition to its military and financial support for Assad, Moscow has also sought a key role in any political resolution to the conflict in Syria.The talks did not touch on the future of Assad, and Russia has been publicly insistent that he remains the rightfully elected president of Syria.Moscow has even sought, so far without success, to enroll nations that back Assad's opponents in a broad coalition against ISIS, that would coordinate its actions with the Damascus regime.
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