What’s Putin up to in Syria?

Putin surprised pretty much everyone recently when he declared that Russia had achieved all of its objectives in Syria and was prepared to pull out. What exactly is going on here? There are, of course, many opinions.

1. Putin was telling the truth, and all of his objectives were actually achieved, including being the only power involved to look like they’re winning.

2. That whether or not he was telling the truth, the point is to make Russia look like the better person, thus giving it and its allies in Syria (including Assad and Iran), more influence at the diplomatic table and/or in enforcing terms on the ground.

3. Russia has achieved their actual (keeping Assad & giving the Russian military battle training), if not stated (getting rid of ISIS), objectives, and doesn’t want to end up in a quagmire like the US in Iraq/Afghanistan/Libya/Syria or like the USSR in Afghanistan.

4. That Russia is just saying nice things for reason 2, but actually doesn’t intend to really leave.

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