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Six years ago, Syrian President Bashar Assad betrayed his country by authorizing lethal fire on peaceful protesters. As war in Syria enters its seventh year, the price for the political preservation of one man, one family, and one entourage has been staggering, in Syria and far beyond. Just how relevant is this murderous crew to the future of Syria?Some Syrians who oppose Assad no longer expect or demand his immediate departure from Syria.Opposition figures in this camp are speaking with Russia. They have, as yet, no idea of how the Trump administration will approach Syria. They watched in amazement as the Obama administration accomplished a self-destructive diplomatic tour-de-force that left Syrian civilians undefended, bad actors empowered, and the United States sidelined. They, like Turkey, concluded two things: Russia in Syria is a potentially treatable illness; Iran in Syria is sure death. Six years ago, Assad set in motion a process that thoroughly undermined his ability to rule Syria as he and has father had for the previous 40 years.
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