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Bashar Assad

A dangerous game in Syria

Given the conflicting agendas of the U.S.-led coalition in Syria and Russia's aims in the region, it may only have been a matter of time before their diverging purposes led to a physical confrontation. That is apparently what happened today when Turkish fighter planes shot down a Russian warplane the Turks claimed had violated their airspace near the Turkish-Syrian border. The downing of a Russian military aircraft by a NATO member state clearly has heightened tensions in an already chaotic conflict. The U.S. and its allies need to focus on managing the fallout from the incident in a way that reduces the chances of similar misadventures in the future.

Military experts had been...