After Five Bloody Years in Syria, Russia Is Turning Against Iran—and Assad

BYE BYE BASHAR? Vladimir Putin wants a stable Syria, with billions from abroad for his oligarch cronies to rebuild the country. But Assad’s infamy and the ayatollahs stand in the way. GAZIANTEP, Turkey—After five years fighting to preserve Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria, Russia now appears inclined to dispose of its infamous client. Assad’s persistent brutality and corruption, and his inability to establish even the semblance of a functioning state, has grown to be a burden Moscow would prefer not to bear. And then there’s the problem of Iran. Assad, members of his family, and his Alawite clansmen enjoy...

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