The Guardian reports: Vladimir Putin has warned that Russia is ready to to scale up its military intervention in Syria, less than a day after Moscow signed off on an ambitious UN plan to end the war.
The peace roadmap lays out a two-year path to elections for a new government, starting with a January ceasefire, and marks the first time America and Russia have reached broad consensus on Syria’s future after years of conflict that has cost more than 250,000 lives and made millions more into refugees.
But the pact was so broad that it sidestepped one of the biggest questions at the heart of Syria’s troubles, the future of President Bashar al-Assad, and several other key issues. It was also drawn up without consulting Assad or the opposition groups fighting him on the ground.
The question of whether, when and how the Syrian leader might step down will hang over any attempts to broker long-term peace. The US says he must go, while Russia has doubled down on support for him, sending bombers, weapons and cash to support his troops. [Continue reading…]