Russian soldiers stand guard as children gather in Deir al-Zor.
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Russia's decision two years ago to intervene militarily in Syria appears to have saved Bashar Assad's regime but a peace settlement seems ever more elusive, analysts say.Assad's forces did so with Russian air support.When the Russian army began its bombing campaign in support of Assad's government in September 2015, the regime seemed fragile and its army was exhausted and demoralized by major setbacks against rebel groups and militants.Supported by Russia's unrelenting bombing, Assad's forces regained control of more than half the country, recapturing the ancient city of Palmyra from Daesh in a symbolic victory and chasing rebel groups out of their stronghold of Aleppo in the north.Frolov said Moscow could not and did not want to remove Assad.Aware of the deadlock, Russia, Turkey and Iran announced a new initiative this week, pledging to bring Assad's regime and its opponents together for a "congress" in the Black Sea resort of Sochi on Nov. 18 .
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