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Can Russia and America Work Together in Syria?

Dave Majumdar

The United States is willing to work jointly with Russia to conduct stability operations in a post-ISIS Syria. Those stability measures could include jointly monitored no-fly zones and cease-fire observation missions. But exactly how such arrangements might be implemented are likely to be the subject of intense negotiations—and could be derailed by wayward proxies on the ground.

The United States and Russia have previously worked together during peacekeeping operations in the Balkans during the 1990s, but Moscow is not likely to be as willing to make the same kinds of concessions today that Boris Yeltsin’s government did when the Kremlin’s power was at a near historic low point. Today’s Russia under the leadership of Vladimir Putin is much more likely to demand an equal partnership in Syria than the severely weakened state that emerged in the aftermath of the Soviet Union’s collapse.

“The United States is prepared to explore the possibility of establishing with Russia joint mechanisms for ensuring stability, including no-fly zones, on the ground ceasefire observers, and coordinated delivery of humanitarian assistance,” Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said in a statement on July 5.


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