Russian Quest for Mideast Sway Hit by New Syria Battle

Russia is finding that keeping the peace in Syria is harder than fighting its civil war, as a fierce assault by Syrian forces on a rebel-held town erodes Moscow’s aim to cement itself as a major power broker in the Middle East.

Russia has entrenched itself in Syria in recent years. Sensing an opportunity to expand its influence in the region, Moscow provided military support to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad as he used brute force to reclaim territory that his regime lost after the 2011 rebel uprising began.

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