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Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem to visit Russia as regime makes gains

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Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem to visit Russia as regime makes gains

Walid Muallem below a photo of Bashar al-Assad
Walid Muallem below a photo of Bashar al-Assad
Photo: SANA

Walid Muallem arrives in Russia today to discuss economic cooperation with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

Bashar al-Assad’s regime appears to have the upper hand in Syria’s civil war. With Russian and Iranian military support, it’s currently escalating its conflict against rebel forces and ISIS, both of which are on the back foot. Yet Moscow may be looking to scale back its commitment as Damascus and Tehran seek to push harder against rebels in “de-escalation zones” which Russia wished to be conflict-free.

Opposition to Assad remains. UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said a group of Western and Gulf countries, including Saudi Arabia and the UAE, “will not support the reconstruction of Syria” without a “transition away from Assad”. The dictator’s multiple chemical weapons attacks on his own citizens have made him unpalatable to many, including the US.

For Assad, Russia’s wavering commitment would further increase his dependence on Iran. Either way, his regime is set to stay.

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