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Moscow eyes working with tribes as its next move in Syria

Many major players are working to resolve the Syrian civil war, but Russia is finding that some smaller groups — local tribes — could play a significant role.
Russia's President Vladimir Putin speaks during a session of the Valdai Discussion Club in Sochi, Russia October 19, 2017. REUTERS/Alexander Zemlianichenko/Pool - UP1EDAJ1DRBAP

Despite a steep jump in fatalities among its forces in Syria this year, the Russian leadership is signaling cautious optimism about the prospects for settling the Syrian war. Speaking at the Valdai International Discussion Club event Oct. 19 in Sochi, Russian President Vladimir Putin said, “There is every reason to believe … we will finish off the terrorists in the short term."

He added, however, "That is no cause for joy [or] for saying that terrorism is over and done with. … If we finish off the pockets of terrorist resistance in Syria, this certainly does not mean the threat to Syria, the region and the world as a whole is gone — absolutely not. On the contrary, you always have to stay alert."

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