MOSKOW, NNC - Russian President Vladimir Putin no longer wants to make concessions with the United States over Iran's presence in Syria.
After pushing Iran's support forces away from the border with the Golan Heights controlled by Israel in July, the Russian president opposed Donald Trump's adminitration's request to expel Iran entirely from Syria once the civil war ends. With Washington's credibility declining in Moscow and Tehran, and the U.S. wanting to end its involvement in Syria, Russia and Iran may win.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov urged the U.S. to abandon its demands for Iran and give up its influence in the region, describing the U.S. as "unprofessional and unrealistic."
The issue is expected to be a central issue when the Russian, Iranian and Turkish presidents meet in Tehran on Friday to strengthen the role in Syria after the war. They will also try to resolve their disapproval of the attack on the last opposition stronghold in Idlib, which risks sending a wave of new refugees across the Turkish border.
The three forces are under separate US sanctions.
The need to map the influence of post-war comes at a critical point in the Syrian civil war. Russian intervention in the conflict three years ago changed the situation to benefit President Bashar al-Assad when he held less than a quarter of his country's territory. Now, Moscow and Iran's main customers are looking to consolidate profits as the last major battle in the Idlib approach.
Russian fighter jets have bombed Idlib, and Syrian forces have opened fire on the area. Nearly 3 million civilians live there, and the prospect of catastrophe for humanity is extremely high if the government does not allow escape routes. Trump warned Assad this week of carrying out a "massacre" in the northwestern province.
With Russia, the American president maintains incentives, not threats. He relied on the prospect of returning punishment to Russia if he got what he wanted in Syria, but he had little reasons to believe that, a Russian official said. Even if he did it, Iran is not ready to retreat, although it faces crippling U.S. sanctions after Trump was pulled out of Iran's nuclear deal.
After a summit in Helsinki in July between Putin and Trump, Russia convinced Iran to support its troops and deploy the military 85 kilometers (50 miles) from the Israeli-controlled Golan.