The fall of the rebel-held Syrian city of Aleppo to Russian- and Iranian-backed forces loyal to President Bashar Assad sounds the death knell for the outgoing Obama administration’s hands-off counterterrorism doctrine, analysts say.
The final batches of anti-Assad fighters vacated formerly rebel-held areas of eastern Aleppo on Friday, officially bringing the city — which was Syria’s economic and cultural hub before the war — under the regime’s control.
The fall of Aleppo was the biggest victory for government forces and their Russian and Iranian supporters since moderate rebel groups, emboldened by regional uprisings tied to the 2011 Arab Spring, attempted to overthrow the Assad regime and ignited the war six years ago.
But the fall was also a pivotal moment for the Obama administration, whose initial intractable stance against the Assad regime was translated into an indecisive policy aimed at defeating or sidelining America’s adversaries from a distance.
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