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Officials: Trump, Putin to hold first summit

President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin are set to meet after US national security adviser John Bolton confirmed details of the summit with Putin. CNN's Frederik Pleitgen reports.

Posted: Jun 28, 2018 8:21 PM
Updated: Jun 28, 2018 8:21 PM

President Donald Trump once again raised the idea of pulling the US out of Syria this week -- this time privately during a meeting with King Abdullah II of Jordan at the White House, according to two diplomatic sources familiar with the sit-down.

The two leaders discussed Syria at length. One source told CNN that Trump believes he can strike a deal with Russian President Vladimir Putin on a so-called exclusion zone in southwest Syria that will allow the US to "get out ASAP."

Trump said in March that the US would "be coming out of Syria like very soon," just hours after the Pentagon had highlighted the need for US troops to remain in the country for the immediate future.

However, senior military officials continued to say Trump had not given any sort of timeline and the US presence would be condition-based.

Now Trump appears intent on reviving the issue and will have an opportunity to discuss the topic with Putin when the two meet in Helsinki, Finland, next month. US officials have said Syria is on the agenda for the summit, but they have offered few specifics as to what the two leaders will talk about.

According to these sources, Trump's plan would allow the Russians to help Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad take back an area along the Jordanian border where the US-led coalition and its military partners are experiencing increased opposition from "an unidentified hostile force" in recent days despite a previous ceasefire.

"The United States continues to warn both the Russian government and the Assad regime of the serious repercussions of these violations and demands that Russia restrain pro-regime forces from further actions within the southwest de-escalation zone," a statement from the State Department said last week.

By allowing the Russians to help Assad take back this region, Trump believes he can expedite the removal of US forces if certain conditions are met.

In exchange, Trump is looking to the Russians for assurances that the Syrian regime will not massacre the US-backed rebels in the region -- allowing them to cease hostilities and ship out of the area.

He would also expect the Russians to establish an exclusion zone to prevent fighting in southwest Syria and block Iranian-backed forces from the region, the sources said, adding that kicking Iran out of Syria is a key part of Trump's plan for US withdrawal.

But even if Putin were to agree to Trump's proposal, there are major concerns about whether Russia could accomplish what Trump is looking to achieve, the sources said.

There are also serious questions about how to address the refugee situation and allowing Assad to stay in power, they added.

In April, Trump announced that the US, in coordination with France and the United Kingdom, had launched strikes on Syria following a week of threats of retaliation for an alleged chemical weapons attack on civilians by the Assad regime.

But despite his intention to send a robust message to Assad for using chemical weapons, Trump has indicated he still wants to pull US forces from the country sooner rather than later, as US military leaders have said their mission there is limited to defeating ISIS.

At the time, one US defense official directly familiar with the ISIS campaign said it was unclear what the President meant by the comments, adding that the military's current assessment is that now is not the time to consider withdrawing, citing numerous challenges in Syria.

The official also noted that the US still needed to decide on a policy with regard to Assad's future and Russia's continued military presence in the county as additional complicating factors.

The President's desire to exit Syria as soon as possible has raised concerns among US allies in the region, particularly the rebel Syrian Democratic Forces, and could embolden the forces of the Syrian regime, Iran and Turkey, all of which have mostly resisted attacking US allies in Syria due to concerns about US retaliation.

This story has been updated to clarify sourcing for information about the nature of the deal.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 161516

Reported Deaths: 3916
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto10708104
Hinds10519205
Harrison7555113
Jackson6708128
Rankin6130112
Lee547697
Madison5202110
Forrest400187
Jones382189
Lauderdale3727147
Lafayette344057
Washington3367108
Lamar307550
Lowndes261167
Oktibbeha259962
Bolivar250185
Panola240253
Neshoba2311122
Marshall227151
Leflore213991
Monroe212278
Pontotoc211231
Lincoln200867
Sunflower195555
Warren184958
Tate184051
Union176826
Copiah172540
Pike168360
Pearl River163870
Yazoo162940
Scott162730
Itawamba162637
Alcorn160428
Coahoma157844
Prentiss156732
Simpson155153
Adams148352
Grenada147145
Leake143344
Holmes135761
Covington135541
Tippah132530
George131725
Winston131726
Hancock130942
Wayne124924
Attala124735
Marion124248
Tishomingo114844
Chickasaw112132
Newton112129
Tallahatchie100727
Clay97127
Clarke95653
Jasper88523
Stone83115
Calhoun81513
Walthall79930
Montgomery78826
Carroll76315
Smith75716
Lawrence75214
Yalobusha74428
Noxubee74217
Perry69326
Tunica63519
Greene63022
Jefferson Davis60217
Amite59315
Claiborne59316
Humphreys55719
Quitman5117
Benton50518
Kemper49318
Webster47914
Wilkinson41322
Jefferson38712
Franklin3726
Choctaw3697
Sharkey33117
Issaquena1234
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 260359

Reported Deaths: 3776
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson34716513
Mobile20452370
Madison14215153
Tuscaloosa13755173
Montgomery12731243
Shelby1110278
Baldwin9341137
Lee801566
Morgan722855
Etowah692170
Calhoun6809121
Marshall675058
Houston552739
DeKalb512940
Cullman480246
St. Clair460357
Limestone455046
Lauderdale443357
Elmore432567
Walker3861112
Talladega381157
Jackson361623
Colbert341546
Blount315845
Autauga289342
Franklin262634
Coffee257717
Dale244454
Dallas234932
Chilton233641
Covington232434
Russell23153
Escambia206932
Tallapoosa190291
Chambers187551
Clarke164120
Pike163814
Marion148236
Winston144725
Lawrence137336
Pickens129720
Geneva12818
Marengo126724
Bibb125238
Barbour121429
Butler120042
Randolph107022
Cherokee106724
Hale101432
Fayette99916
Clay94825
Washington93921
Henry8996
Monroe84611
Lowndes82629
Cleburne80714
Macon77122
Crenshaw73330
Conecuh72914
Lamar7258
Bullock70919
Perry6987
Wilcox65518
Sumter59522
Greene44518
Choctaw43519
Coosa3824
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