Assad soon looking for an exit…….
Russian Withdrawal Could Set Stage for Assad’s Exit
Putin’s troops helped Damascus beat back Syria’s rebels. Now that Russia is on its way out, will Assad follow?
Russia has spent months using its warplanes, artillery pieces, and ground troops to bolster the fragile government of Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad. Moscow’s decision to begin a major military withdrawal shows that it may be looking for a way out of the conflict — and that it may be open to a Syrian government led by someone other than Assad.
U.S. officials cautioned that Moscow hadn’t yet begun moving military equipment out of Syria and said it was too soon to gauge how many of his forces Russian President Vladimir Putin would ultimately be prepared to bring home. Still, Putin’s surprise announcement Monday that “the main part of our military groups will begin their withdrawal” from Syria could mean an end to Russia’s unconditional support for Assad and offer a rare reason for optimism that there could be a diplomatic solution to the country’s unrelenting carnage.