A boy rides a bicycle past a man sitting on rubble of a damaged house in the rebel held historic southern town of Bosra al-Sham, Deraa, Syria February 23, 2016. REUTERS/Alaa Al-Faqir
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Russian President Vladimir Putin has a chance to cash in on his gains in Syria by scaling down his bombing blitz following the cessation of hostilities that took effect early Saturday so he can emerge as a peace broker with international stature. The Syrian army's significant advances around Aleppo will allow Damascus to negotiate with its foes from a position of strength, while the cessation of hostilities offers Putin an opportunity to emerge from the five-month bombing campaign stronger than when it started.By engaging the United States in a direct military-to-military dialogue in Syria, the Russian president also fulfills his key goal of making Moscow a global player on par with Washington.Ever since Russia launched its air campaign in Syria on Sept. 30, the Kremlin has urged the U.S. to coordinate military efforts. Russia has responded by challenging the U.S. to name the groups and areas its warplanes shouldn't target.
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