Putin’s Partition Plan for Syria – HUSSEIN IBISH,  The New York Times

“Russian firepower is aimed at securing the larger, western part of the rump Syrian state that is still controlled by Mr. Assad — in particular the air and naval bases near Latakia and Tartus. And aside from forays into northern trouble spots like Aleppo, Iranian and Hezbollah forces will mostly concentrate on the lower half of this strip, which runs from the Lebanese border through Qalamoun, up to Damascus, and from there to the port cities and coastal heartland of the Alawites, the Syrian Shiite sect loyal to Mr. Assad.For all of the talk of combating the Islamic State, Russia’s real aim is to push back rebel groups and secure this ministate. Given what Mr. Assad’s allies are willing to do to salvage this “Little Syria” — compared with the limited intervention being considered by Mr. Putin’s international antagonists — this is probably an achievable goal.Such a partition of Syria would leave other parts of the country in the hands of nationalist and Islamist rebels, a Kurdish area in the north, perhaps some smaller enclaves and, most ominously, the “caliphate” of the Islamic State in the north and east. Despite Kremlin propaganda, the Islamic State is already among the biggest winners from the Russian intervention.”

Source: Putin’s Partition Plan for Syria – The New York Times

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