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Is Russia helping the US win in Syria?

Russian air power and Syrian forces are pounding terrorists and their allies, while taking a terrible toll on civilians; keep Turkey out of Syria.

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Feb. 4 that a recent US intelligence assessment showed a drop in numbers of those fighting on behalf of the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq from 31,500 to 25,000, a sign that the Obama administration’s strategy is working, as many of these foreign fighters seek a new base in Libya and elsewhere.

The second Week in Review column in December 2012 identified the role of Russia as one of the trends to watch regarding an endgame in Syria. The Russian trend is shaping a new phase in the Syrian war. As this column wrote last month, that endgame could begin with Aleppo, which is nearly encircled by Russian- and Iranian-backed Syrian government forces.

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