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It is Syrian Quagmire 2.0. And in the view of American officials, it is anything but an upgrade.
Four years into Syria's civil war and more than a year into a U.S.-led bombing campaign against the Islamic State terrorist group, the U.S. military now faces a new, potentially far more dangerous prospect: backing the opposite side of the Russian Air Force.
Russian airstrikes inside Syria on Wednesday were seen as an effort to prop up the embattled Syrian dictator Bashar Assad — its chief ally in the region — despite recent assurances from President Vladimir Putin that Russia's military objective would be to also help defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, also known as ISIL.
And if Moscow deliberately or accidentally kills members of the U.S.-backed New Syrian Force, a group of moderate elements that Washington hopes will ultimately topple Assad while beating back Islamic militants, it would put President Barack Obama and his national security team in a very dicey position...............
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