JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia Offers a Carrot to Embattled Syrian Rebels; Moscow is trying to wind down a war that has cost it billions, promising some groups an end to violence in exchange for loyalty to Assad” – Wall Street Journal/Thomas Grove

Syria Map

“More than 2,000 rebels who had been fighting the Syrian army abandoned their positions … and surrendered … heavy weaponry to Russian officers in July … as [Russia] tries to wind down a brutal military campaign that has cost Russia billions and [Russia] courts donors to help reconstruct[ion]. … Russia’s bombing raids turned … the war in favor of … al-Assad, and Moscow has sent warships to the eastern Mediterranean – likely for a military onslaught against Syria’s last major rebel stronghold, in Idlib province. … Russia has also been negotiating conditional surrenders … promising an end to violence … general amnesty and efforts toward the restoration of public services – in exchange for loyalty to … Assad. … as [the Russian military] … take on a potentially perilous occupational role …. Those who don’t sign agreements are likely to be bombed ….  U.S. military and diplomatic officials take a deeply skeptical view of Russia’s role … and [seeing] signs of an impending offensive …. Russian firepower has … compounded civilian deaths and fueled the flight of hundreds of thousands from their homes. …”

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