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Trump missing piece in Putin’s Syria plan

The Russian president needs the United States to stabilize Syria, but expects sanctions relief in return.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is banking that he can persuade his US counterpart Donald Trump that Russia offers the best chance to allow US troops to leave Syria “very soon,” as Trump has indicated he would like to do.

Preparations are underway for a US-Russia presidential summit, where Syria will be at the top of the agenda. Putin’s leverage in Syria is unmatched, as he has managed complicated relations with all of the key parties — the Syrian government, Iran, Turkey and Israel — while keeping up regular contacts with Arab Gulf leaders. On June 1, Putin welcomed Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the crown prince of Abu Dhabi and deputy supreme commander of the United Arab Emirates' armed forces, to Moscow.

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