The latest G20 Leaders Summit happened this week on the heels of the Daesh (ISIS) coordinated Paris attacks, sending the question of what to do about the militant group to the front of the normally-stagnant agenda.
French President Francois Hollande made the case for imperative action toward finally ending Syria’s war, calling the conflict “the greatest factory of terrorism the world has ever seen,” according to BBC.
The palpable need for compromise at the G20 seemed to bring closer leaders who normally seek to oust Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and leaders, like Putin, who have been supporting him.
President Vladimir Putin shifted his position, conceding that Moscow would now target Daesh, instead of aiming at moderate opposition forces against Assad, which could mark the start of Russia’s cooperation with Western-backed groups.
Putin also pledged more air support for groups fighting Daesh on the ground—even the FSA. Meanwhile, British Prime Minister David Cameron sought to bridge the Moscow-West divide with a face-to-face talk with the Russian leader.
However, US President Barack Obama stopped short of committing US ground forces, claiming that “patience would be rewarded,” though 50 US special operations forces have already been approved for a mission inside the country.
Positive outcomes of the meeting came with unanimous agreements on a several tactics, including better sharing of intelligence, as well as an uptick in aviation security to prevent future attacks.
Of course, this meeting comes amid ramped up support for fighting Daesh on all fronts. And while such has been the official modus operandi of most Western influence inside Syria so far, it's not the first time we've heard grand gestures about policy changes in the conflict.
Whether any of it will actually change the West—or Russia's—role in the country is still up for debate.
By Elizabeth Tarbell
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