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Biden leaves Syria on back burner as war marks 10 years

In his first months in office, President Joe Biden's team has signaled that Syria’s civil war won’t be among his top foreign policy priorities.
A Turkish military tank is seen in a destroyed neighbourhood of Sarmin town, about eight kilometres southeast of the city of Idlib in northwestern Syria, on March 10, 2020. - When protesters in March 2011 demanded their rights and regime change, they likely never imagined it would trigger a reaction that has led to the 21st century's biggest war. Nine years on, President Bashar al-Assad is still in power and there to stay, more than 380,000 people have died, dozens of towns and cities razed to the ground an

“We failed,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said of the Barack Obama administration’s approach to Syria. “Not for want of trying, but we failed.”

A slew of Obama veterans who now fill the ranks of President Joe Biden’s foreign policy team say they got it wrong in Syria, where a decade of fighting has killed hundreds of thousands of people, spawned a new generation of extremist groups and caused the biggest displacement crisis since World War II. In the years since Obama’s “red line” debacle, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has only tightened his two-decade grip on power, clawing back much of the country using a mix of barrel bombs, chemical weapons and siege warfare with the help of his foreign sponsors, Iran and Russia.

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