Searching for smart, safe news you can TRUST?

Support safe, smart, REAL journalism. Sign up for our Axios AM & PM newsletters and get smarter, faster.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Searching for smart, safe news you can TRUST?

Support safe, smart, REAL journalism. Sign up for our Axios AM & PM newsletters and get smarter, faster.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Minneapolis-St. Paul

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa-St. Petersburg news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa-St. Petersburg

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Photo: Mikhail Metzel\TASS via Getty Images

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan traveled to Russia today to negotiate the future of northern Syria — highlighting in the process the success of his audacious offensive, Vladimir Putin’s unmatched power in Syria, and America's absence from the table.

Why it matters: American influence in Syria is evaporating in real time as U.S. troops withdraw. It's now Turkey and Russia that are effectively re-defining the country's borders and debating the fate of America's Kurdish allies.

  • The deal announced today from Putin’s retreat in Sochi expands on the ceasefire Vice President Pence announced last Thursday, which was set to expire today, and covers three times as much territory.
  • It would grant Erdogan the “buffer zone” he’s long demanded, running 20 miles out from the Turkish-Syrian border. Erdogan hopes to resettle Syrian refugees there, in apparent violation of international law.
  • The deal gives Kurdish fighters an additional 150 hours to leave the zone, and their weapons, after which Turkey and Russia will conduct joint patrols along the border.

Between the lines: Russia and the U.S. are both capitalizing on the U.S. exit from Syria. Putin will take pleasure in the fact that today's deal was reached without the U.S., but with its NATO ally.

  • The deal could complicate Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad’s efforts to regain control over all of Syria.
  • Russia’s backing kept Assad in power through a brutal eight year civil war, but Erdogan was aiding the rebels seeking to topple him. Assad referred to Erdogan as a “thief” today in remarks carried on state TV.

The other side: Kurdish forces held the territory until their superpower ally, the U.S., suddenly withdrew.

  • A U.S. military convoy withdrawing from Syria for Iraq yesterday was pelted sporadically with fruit and stones by Kurdish civilians accusing the U.S of betrayal.
  • “We never agreed to protect the Kurds for the rest of their lives,” President Trump responded back in Washington.
  • Trump said the U.S. would keep small detachments in Syria at the request of Israel and Jordan and to “protect the oil," but there was otherwise "no reason" to remain.

The bottom line: Trump has suggested that Syria is now Russia and Turkey’s mess to sort out. In this instance, they were happy to do so without him.

Go deeper: Trump's Syria strategy — Get out, but "keep the oil"

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Ipsos poll: COVID trick-or-treat — Study: Trump campaign rallies likely led to over 700 COVID-related deaths.
  2. World: Boris Johnson announces month-long COVID-19 lockdown in England — Greece tightens coronavirus restrictions as Europe cases spike — Austria reimposes coronavirus lockdowns amid surge of infections.
  3. Economy: Conference Board predicts economy won’t fully recover until late 2021.
  4. Technology: Fully at-home rapid COVID test to move forward.
  5. States: New York rolls out new testing requirements for visitors.
3 hours ago - Health

Boris Johnson announces month-long COVID-19 lockdown in England

Prime Minsiter Boris Johnson. Photo: NurPhoto / Getty Images

A new national lockdown will be imposed in England, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced Saturday, as the number of COVID-19 cases in the country topped 1 million.

Details: Starting Thursday, people in England must stay at home, and bars and restaurants will close, except for takeout and deliveries. All non-essential retail will also be shuttered. Different households will be banned from mixing indoors. International travel, unless for business purposes, will be banned. The new measures will last through at least December 2.

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

The massive early vote

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Early voting in the 2020 election across the U.S. on Saturday had already reached 65.5% of 2016's total turnout, according to state data compiled by the U.S. Elections Project.

Why it matters: The coronavirus pandemic and its resultant social-distancing measures prompted a massive uptick in both mail-in ballots and early voting nationwide, setting up an unprecedented and potentially tumultuous count in the hours and days after the polls close on Nov. 3.