Putin’s deal with Turkey is the latest in a smart power-broking strategy that will soon be tested to its limitsRecent events in Syria suggest that Russia isn’t just taking Washington’s place as the Middle East’s power broker – it seems to be doing a more effective job of it, too.

The latest evidence came yesterday, when Vladimir Putin held a meeting with his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. As a US-brokered ceasefire in Syria’s north-east expired, they struck a deal to evacuate the People’s Protection Units (YPG), a Kurdish-led militia, from a buffer zone near Turkey’s border. Russian and Turkish troops will begin patrols of that area, giving them joint control. But while Russian diplomatic skill is to be commended, America’s loss may yet prove Russia’s headache.

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Read More Russia has been playing a canny game in the Middle East, but can it continue? | Olga Oliker

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