Russia's Putin—Not Sanctions—Could End Syrian Violence

Opposition leader sees signs that Russia is re-thinking its support for the Syrian regime.

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Mass executions and slain children won't bring U.S. and Western military intervention in Syria, meaning when the fighting there ends largely rests in the hands of a global renegade: Russian President Vladimir Putin. The once-and-again Russian president has something U.S. President Barack Obama, French President Francois Hollande, and their contemporaries lack: Leverage over Syrian President Bashir al-Assad.

"If Russia portends to be a global power—and it does—then Putin has to recognize his responsibilities with regard to Syria," says Edward Djerejian, a former U.S. Ambassador to Syria and the founding director of Rice University's Baker Institute for Public Policy. "We should be bringing very frontally to Russia's attention that this bloody conflict in Syria is leading to sectarian warfare and civil war, which will further destabilize a country that is very important in the Levante."

Read more about Syria's civil war.