Amid Russian airstrikes, a Putin craze takes hold in Mideast

October 12, 2015 7:01 PM

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BEIRUT — Amid the ornate walls of Damascus’ famed Omayyad Mosque, preacher Maamoun Rahmeh stood before worshippers last week, declaring Russian President Vladimir Putin a “giant and beloved leader” who has “destroyed the myth of the self-aggrandizing America.”

Posters of Putin are popping up on cars and billboards elsewhere in parts of Syria and Iraq, praising the Russian military intervention in Syria as one that will redress the balance of power in the region.

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