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During the second presidential debate on Oct. 9, then-GOP nominee Donald Trump made a bold assessment on the war in Syria – one that officials within the U.S. intelligence and diplomatic communities were reticent to make. The Assad regime, Trump argued, has all but defeated the Syrian opposition in east Aleppo after four years of brutal combat. Indeed, at the time Trump made that claim, opposition units were still in control of eastern Aleppo, despite the heaviest regime and Russian air bombardment of the entire war.The Syrian army first has taken several districts in east Aleppo, including Masakan Hanano, a military accomplishment that splits opposition-controlled territory in two and squeezes opposition fighters into a smaller boxes of territory.With pro-Assad forces cracking the opposition's defensive lines in Aleppo's eastern neighborhoods, Bashar Assad and Vladimir Putin believe that their siege, starve-and-bombard strategy is finally paying off in what was once Syria's prized jewel.The more territory that Assad's forces take in East Aleppo, the less pressure Assad himself will feel to negotiate.
What does Astana bode for Geneva?
Is Obama’s war against Daesh legal?
Will Congress give Obama authorization?
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