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Over 100 ‘pro-regime’ fighters have been killed in air and artillery strikes by the US - expert comment

The US has carried out rare air strikes on Syrian pro-government forces after what it called an "unprovoked attack" on allied Kurdish and Arab fighters. Prof Richard Youngs, Dept of Politics & International Studies examines the situation:

"There remains a three-way struggle in Syria: regime, radical groups, moderate opposition. Last year Western governments' focus was on pushing back the radical groups, especially IS. Now the regime-opposition axis is rearing it head again.

"The latest flare up cannot be separated from Turkey's incursion across the border to push back Kurdish forces; many observers already foresaw this might spell trouble if the US and other coalition members sought to defend their Kurdish and other partners. So, this latest attack is part of a broader realignment of forces on the ground in Syria.

"In general, Western governments are still unlikely to want a wider confrontation with the regime - especially European governments (including the UK) who have been tilting towards some kind of negotiated settlement with the regime."

Prof Richard Youngs, Dept of Politics & International Studies and Senior Fellow, Democracy and Rule of Law Program, Carnegie Europe

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