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Putin, Assad solidify their dominance in Syria

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on October 23, 2019 - Duration: 02:03s

Putin, Assad solidify their dominance in Syria

Russian troops moved into the strategic Syrian city of Kobani on Wednesday.

It comes a day after Moscow and Turkey agreed to oversee the removal of America's former allies, Kurdish fighters, from the region.

Matthew Larotonda reports.

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Putin, Assad solidify their dominance in Syria

Russian troops were seen moving into the strategic Syrian city of Kobani on Wednesday (October 23).

The city, in the country's north, was once the scene of one of the war's most pitched battles, where Kurdish fighters wrested the city from Islamic State, with American support at the time.

Now the Russian troop movements underline that President Vladimir Putin has become the dominant powerbroker in Syria.

The movements come a day after he and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan agreed to coordinate the removal of all Kurdish fighters from the region, and joint patrols along the border.

Russia and a NATO member, coordinating to expel a former ally of the United States.

On Wednesday President Donald Trump called his efforts along the Syrian-Turkish border a success.

He says a "safe zone" has been created and that the Kurds have, quote, "worked very nicely with us." Many Kurds see it differently.

Hundreds have been killed in the assault by Turkish forces, thousands are displaced.

This Kurdish woman we met pleaded for Putin's intervention, or the United Nations.

Also on Wednesday a Kurdish man set himself on fire outside the United Nations in Geneva, assumed to be in protest of their situation.

That desperation is why Kurdish militia say they invited Russian-backed Syrian government troops into their territory, for protection, to fill the power gap left by the U.S. withdraw.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's hand has gained strength.

On Tuesday (October 22), he toured the frontlines and railed against the Turkish presence.

And, Russia now stands as a moderator between Assad and Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan.

The two have been hostile for years, but Turkish sources say that Erdogan's government is already holding covert contact with Damascus to avoid a direct confrontation between their forces.

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