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The fall of Eastern Ghouta and Deraa to forces loyal to the regime of President Bashar Assad over the past few months represent a crowning success for Moscow's low-cost Syria policy. In less than three years, Russian military support to the previously beleaguered Assad regime has allowed the latter to reclaim over 60 percent of the country's territory using a dual local and regional phased approach. Russia has repeatedly created de-escalation zones that froze large geographic regions, allowing the regime to focus its limited resources on specific areas. Three months after the regime announced victory over Daesh in November 2017, Syrian regime forces launched a fresh ground and air offensive in February 2018 against rebel positions in the besieged enclave of Eastern Ghouta, which subsequently fell to regime forces in April.Russia was also determined to secure Syria's southern border.Yet as the regime focused its offensive on Deraa in June 2018, Israel and Russia reportedly reached an agreement to green-light Israeli strikes on Iran-backed groups in Syria. Russia also suggested keeping these groups at least 100 kilometers away from the Israel-Syria border so that Israel would be less likely to launch attacks against them. Indeed, despite Russia's nominal commitment to the de-escalation plan, its air force has already been conducting widespread bombings over Idlib, which ramped up in February after rebels shot down a Russian warplane and killed its pilot.
Challenges, grievances giving Daesh the chance to thrive in Iraq, Syria
Russia’s disinformation changed how we see Syria
The ongoing evolution of Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham
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