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Merkel Migrant U-Turn, ISIS Loses Base, Singles Day Record

SYRIAN ARMY TAKES BACK KEY AIR BASE FROM ISIS

The Syrian army has regained control of the Kwairis military airbase, near the northern city of Aleppo, ending a siege that started in April 2013 and was reinforced by ISIS in the spring of 2014, the Syrian Arab News Agency reports. According to experts quoted by AFP, this is an important breakthrough for the Assad regime and its allies, and the airbase could now be used by Russian warplanes to fully retake the city of Aleppo, as well as protecting the Syrian government's western stronghold in Latakia, where 24 civilians were killed yesterday in terrorist rocket attacks. The BBC meanwhile reports that a Russian document circulating at the United Nations set out a potential political transition process of 18 months, followed by presidential elections. This comes ahead of a summit, due to take place in Vienna on Saturday.

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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

The "Corrosion" Strategy: How Ukraine Targets Russian Networks And Morale

Russia continues to shrink its ambitions in Donbas, as Ukraine doubles down on its strategy of guerilla attacks, interrupting supply and communication contacts and ultimately undermines the morale of the enemy.

Ukrainian soldiers sitting atop a tank in Donbas on May 22

Clemens Wergin

For years to come, military experts will be studying how Ukraine managed to push back a far stronger enemy and grind Russia’s major offensive in the east of the country to a halt.

Some military strategists are already trying to find a term to sum up the Ukrainians’ success. Australian military expert and retired army major general Mick Ryan credited Kyiv's stunning showing to "the adoption of a simple military strategy: corrosion. The Ukrainian approach has embraced the corrosion of the Russian physical, moral, and intellectual capacity to fight and win in Ukraine.”

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Ryan argues that while the Ukrainians have used the firepower they possess to halt the Russian advance, while aggressively targeting their enemy’s greatest shortcoming. “They have attacked the weakest physical support systems of an army in the field – communications networks, logistic supply routes, rear areas, artillery and senior commanders in their command posts,” Ryan wrote.

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Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

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