The five-year-old conflict, which began with a government crackdown on peaceful protests, has drawn a confusing array of players and alliances, fueled the growth of ISIS, and spawned a refugee crisis. The United States can't seem to get its strategy right — and now it's grappling with Russia, which just launched its own bombing campaign.
Earlier in the week, Russian President Vladimir Putin told the United Nations General Assembly that the only way to defeat ISIS was to back Assad. President Obama, however, insisted that the only path toward peace was by getting rid of Assad through a "managed transition."
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