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WASHINGTON – A year after Russia waded into the war in Syria, aiming to flex its national security muscles and prop up beleaguered Syrian President Bashar Assad, Moscow appears no closer to one of its military goals: getting the U.S. to coordinate combat operations in the civil war. And any prospects of a diplomatic resolution seem dim.
But the yearlong offensive in Syria has showcased some of Moscow's newer military capabilities and underscored President Vladimir Putin's willingness to go to war to protect an ally — particularly one that hosts a critical Russian base on the Mediterranean Sea.
More broadly, the offensive has put Russia at the center of the Syrian conflict, providing an opening for diplomatic cooperation between the U.S. and Russia to end the civil war.