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Turkey Is a Mediocre NATO Ally, but Russia Is Enemy No. 1

Dean Emeritus Admiral James Stavridis explores the role of Russia in the conflict between Syria and Turkey, via his Bloomberg Opinion column.

Turkey and Syria seem headed into a war.  In the Syrian city of Idlib, at least 33 Turkish soldiers have been killed by Syrian shelling — with assistance from Russia — and 18 Syrians were then killed in retaliatory strikes.  Conditions for the nearly three million refugees are horrific, with children dying and large groups on the move by foot, trying to break out of this Levant killing field.

The Syrian civil war should by now be over. Perhaps 11 million Syrians have been displaced, and more than 500,000 killed. Assad, using a horrific mixture of military tactics — nerve gas, barrel bombs dropped from helicopters, attacks against hospitals and schools, and torture of prisoners — has managed to crush the rebellion down to this final corner of the largely destroyed country. He has been  abetted every step of the way by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

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