Cold War Rivals Risk Direct Conflict in Syria

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The war in Syria is threatening to embroil the major powers in direct conflict.

Russian President Vladimir Putin may have declared victory in his Syrian campaign two months ago, but as Bloomberg reports today, a strike by U.S.-led coalition forces in the east of Syria last week killed as many as 200 troops working for Russian military contractors. 

The raid was likely the first such deadly conflict between the former Cold War rivals since the Vietnam War, according to Russian experts. Both sides so far have tried to keep the details secret to avoid escalating an already volatile situation.

Just days later, Israel downed an Iranian drone and struck targets in Syria, raising the ante in its efforts to drive forces backed by Tehran away from its border. Following those strikes, Putin urged “avoiding any steps that could lead to a new round of confrontation.”

With the common enemy in the form of Islamic State largely defeated, the endgame in Syria for Russia and the U.S. could be even more fraught than the seven-year civil war so far. 

Cold War Rivals Risk Direct Conflict in Syria

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Cold War Rivals Risk Direct Conflict in Syria

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And finally ... The juicy tidbits from Steve Bannon’s sojourn in Trump World just keep coming. The ousted White House strategist considered endorsing Janet Yellen for a second term as Federal Reserve chair but instead kept quiet as Trump passed her over in favor of fellow Republican Jerome Powell. “Yellen’s my girl,”  Bannon is quoted by Bloomberg’s Josh Green as saying in a new preface to his book on Bannon that’s set for release today.

Cold War Rivals Risk Direct Conflict in Syria

To contact the author of this story: Gregory White in Moscow at gwhite64@bloomberg.net.

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