BEIRUT, Lebanon — After two days of attacks directed exclusively against insurgents opposed to the Syrian government, there is little question that Russia is determined to re-establish President Bashar al-Assad as Syria’s leader.
“Russia’s goal is to defend Assad; whoever is against him is a destabilizing factor,” said Aleksei Makarkin, the deputy head of the Center for Political Technologies, in Moscow. “Russia wants Assad to get engaged in a political settlement from a position of strength.”
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