US and Russia Want to Avoid Syrian Escalation, But Are They in Control?.

Press. Voanews.
The U.S. and its Western allies avoided triggering a wider war in Syria last Saturday when they retaliated with precision missile strikes against President Bashar al-Assad for an alleged chemical weapons attack. But there are plenty of hazards ahead that could draw the big powers, as well as neighboring countries, deeper into the Syria quagmire — and into direct conflict with each other, however determined they are to avoid it, analysts said.

Washington and its allies may have given up on seeking the removal of Assad from power, and the rebels may now control only a few pockets of the north near the Turkish border and in the south adjacent to Jordan, but the Syria conflict remains far from over.

Microconflicts abound — although they are less "micro" from the point of view of those involved — with a struggle intensifying over the consolidation of spheres of influence. Several outside powers are determined not only to shape post-war Syria, but to retain significant long-term roles for themselves, as well as to maintain territory they currently control.

In the north, Turkey is continuing to press an offensive against America's Syrian Kurdish allies and is threatening to expand it. Sunni Arab rebels and Kurds are at each other's throats, risking drawing in the U.S. Al-Qaida remains a menacing and influential force. And remnants of the Islamic State group have yet to be mopped up.
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