Putin-Erdogan deal on Syria demilitarized zone heads off showdown, pending bloodbath

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Monday that he had struck a deal with Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan to table a planned offensive against the Syrian rebel stronghold of Idlib, a last-minute agreement that led all sides of the 7-year-old conflict to breathe a sigh of relief despite a host of unanswered questions about whether the so-called demilitarized zone will hold.

U.S. backed in corner as Syria, Russia plan bloody assault in Idlib with chemical weapons in arsenal

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With Bashar Assad and his Russian allies on the verge of victory in Syria’s civil war, the Trump administration is facing new pressure to respond forcefully and prevent a bloodbath of historic proportions -- but analysts say the U.S. has virtually no good options, as seven years of muddy American policy toward Syria has left Moscow holding all the cards.