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Don’t let Islamic State slip the noose in Syria

As Russia beefs up its offensive in Syria, the situation there looks promising, but it’s time for Moscow and Washington to cooperate in a final push to eliminate the Islamic State.
A Syrian national flag flutters next to the Islamic State's slogan at a roundabout where executions were carried out by ISIS militants in the city of Palmyra, in Homs Governorate, Syria April 1, 2016. REUTERS/Omar Sanadiki SEARCH "PALMYRA SANADIKI" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES - GF10000368423
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MOSCOW — Over the past few weeks, Russia has increased its air offensive to support the Syrian army's advance against the Islamic State (IS) in Deir ez-Zor. Russia’s Defense Ministry even proclaimed that the civil war in Syria is “practically over.”

Terrorists have been separated from the opposition, and de-escalation zones have been established. Moscow largely credits itself for both developments, which enable Russia to pursue its Syria campaign on two paths: diplomacy with the regime’s opposition at talks in Geneva and Astana, Kazakhstan, and more airstrikes on IS. That doesn’t necessarily mean Moscow won’t occasionally take aim at the US-backed opposition forces if it feels the Syrian army could use some help. But the recent offensive on IS has been remarkable from military and political perspectives.

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