Syrian Crisis

Time to Turn the Screw on Putin

LATAKIA, SYRIA. FEBRUARY 18, 2016. A Sukhoi Su-34 strike fighter takes off at the Hmeymim airbase. Valery Sharifulin/TASS PUBLICATIONxINxGERxAUTxONLY TS01796B Latakia Syria February 18 2016 a Sukhoi SU 34 Strike Fighter Takes off AT The Hmeymim Airbase Valery Sharifulin TASS PUBLICATIONxINxGERxAUTxONLY TS01796B
A Russian Sukhoi Su-34 fighter jet in Syria.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Thousands of people continue to die in Syria as discussions over the best path to peace appear gridlocked.

  • Facts


    • Russia’s entry into the five-year-old Syrian conflict in support of President Bashar al-Assad has made it a key player in peace negotiations.
    • On Monday, Russia and the United States announced plans for a ceasefire among some of Syria’s warring factions starting on February 27.
    • Millions of Syrians have already fled the country, with hundreds of thousands making their way to Europe in the past year.
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A new ceasefire brokered by the United States and Russia may have been agreed between some of the warring parties in Syria, but the bombing and dying continues.

In Homs and Damascus, at least 200 people died in bomb blasts at the weekend. John Kerry, the U.S. secretary of state, and his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov, the co-chairs of the International Syria Support Group, have claimed that the chances for a ceasefire have never been so good. But again one must fear that Moscow and the Syrian dictator, Bashar al-Assad, will continue to create hard facts on the ground while Mr. Kerry sings the praises of peace in angelic tones.

At the Munich Security Conference this month, U.S. senator John McCain was right to call on the West to develop a strategy for stopping the chaos in the Middle East.

First, this means blocking Moscow’s power politics and second, overcoming the West’s own shock-induced rigidity. Whoever wants to silence the weapons in Syria can’t get around the need for a security zone for the civilian population that is guaranteed by the West. It is not by chance that Germany’s chancellor, Angela Merkel, has revived this idea: It would reduce the influx of refugees.

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