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."