Russia's Syria evacuation reflects doubts on Assad
MOSCOW (AP) — The Kremlin's evacuation of Russians from Syria on Tuesday marks a turning point in its view of the civil war, representing increasing doubts about Bashar Assad's hold on power and a sober understanding that it has to start rescue efforts before it becomes too late.
The operation has been relatively small-scale, involving under 100 people, mostly women and children — but it marks the beginning of what could soon turn into a risky and challenging operation. Analysts warn that rescuing tens of thousands of Russians from the war-stricken country could quickly become daunting as the opposition makes new advances in the battle against the Syrian president.
"It's a sign of distrust in Assad, who seems unlikely to hold on to power," said Alexei Malashenko, a Middle East expert with the Carnegie Endowment's Moscow office.
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