© AP/Alexander Zemlianichenko/Pool
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan • Russian President Vladimir Putin
Russian President Vladimir Putin's Tuesday meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan following the US withdrawal from northern Syria illustrates Russia's rise as a Mideast power-broker at the expense of the United States, the Soufan Group said in a report on Tuesday.
"President Putin has travelled to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and spoken with Turkish President Erdogan, Iranian President Hasan Rouhani and Israeli Prime Minister [Benjamin] Netanyahu. Unlike the United States, Russia maintains working relationships with nearly every actor involved in Syria, affording Moscow a level of influence that no other country has been able to achieve throughout the eight-year-long civil war".
Putin's scheduled meeting with Erdogan in the Black Sea resort town of Sochi on 22 October reflects the prospect of Russia and Syria working out a peace agreement while leaving the United States sidelined and marginalised, the report said.

Moreover, the US pullout allows Russia to proclaim its loyalty to partner nations, a clear sign to others in the region that Moscow remains dependable, while Washington appears fickle and unreliable in the long term, the report said.

In addition, images of Kurdish civilians pelting the withdrawing US forces with potatoes offer a crushing judgment of a poorly conceived decision by Trump and a major coup for Putin, the report added.

Russia's willingness to fill the void in Syria and elsewhere also reinforces the notion that Moscow has returned to its prior glory as a great power that is capable of providing leadership in a volatile region like the Middle East, according to the report.