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Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson said on Tuesday that President Bashar al-Assad of Syria’s reign may be coming to an end, following the U.S. missile strike that retaliated to chemical attacks blamed on Mr Assad. He warned Russia, who backs Mr Assad, that they may “become irrelevant in the Middle East by continuing to support him”. This marks a step for the Trump administration who just weeks earlier seemed resigned to Mr Assad’s upper hand in the Syrian conflict. Now, the administration seems to hold to the former consensus that Mr Assad cannot remain in power. However, Mr Putin refuses to back away from Mr Assad, insisting attacks came from somewhere other than the Syrian government. Russia remains to have interesting relevancy in this region, and it leaves one to wonder what would happen in the conflict if Russia were to end up backing out.

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