Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, and Syrian President Bashar Assad watch the troops marching at the Hemeimeem air base in Syria, on Monday, Dec. 11, 2017. (Mikhail Klimentyev, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)
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President Vladimir Putin declared mission accomplished for the military on a visit to Russia's Syrian air base this week, and said conditions were ripe for a political solution.The view in Damascus is that this will preserve Assad as president.Having worked closely to secure Assad, Iran and Russia may now differ in ways that could complicate Russian policy.The war has been going Assad's way since 2015, when Russia sent its air force to help him.The scales tipped even more his way this year: Russia struck deals with Turkey, the United States and Jordan that contained in the war in the west, indirectly helping Assad's advances in the east, and Washington pulled military aid from the rebels.The senior Syrian opposition figure said the United States and other states that had backed their cause -- Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan and Turkey -- had all given way to Russia.The Syrian Kurdish question is one area where Russia and Iran have signaled different goals.While a top Iranian official recently said the government would take areas held by the U.S.-backed, Kurdish-led forces, Russia has struck deals with the Kurds and their U.S. sponsors.
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