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A little more than a year since the start of the Russian military operation in Syria, events seem to be stacking up exactly the way Putin and his team want them to. The U.S. accepts Russia as an interlocutor, though probably not as an equal, which is what Moscow would wish. The regime of Bashar al-Assad, which was on the verge of collapse in the middle of 2015, has consolidated its control over large swathes of “useful Syria” and now seems poised, with the help of allies such as Iran and Hezbollah, to take over the besieged Eastern Aleppo. The advance of Arab Spring has been reversed, with the military coup in Egypt in July 2013 as a turning point. After a short-lived tussle following the Su-24M downing, Turkey
US-Russian disagreements are not the only reason for the failure of the discussions on the Syrian crisis at the Security Council and within the International Syria Support Group, held in New York during the United Nations September session. Apart from these disagreements the conflict is complicated by the huge differences in the positions and behavior of local, regional and international forces which are involved one way or another. Accordingly, there are discrepancies in the practical steps and priorities included in their policies. As for the Russian-American contradictions, they have strategic military and political dimensions as they reflect well-established stereotypes in assessing the opponent. Washington considers Russia a regional, not a great power and emphatically places it in the hostile camp. For its part Moscow sees itself as a great power