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Vladimir Putin. Photo: Mikhail Svetlov / Getty Images

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Monday the U.S. has been "discouraging the Kurds from dialogue" with the Syrian government and sowing “separatist sentiment” among them, per the AP. Lavrov said this shows a “lack of understanding of the situation or a deliberate provocation” and urged all involved parties to recognize Syria’s sovereignty.

Why it matters: This comes as Turkey is launching an offensive to boot out Kurdish forces with links to the U.S. in Syria over the weekend, and Turkey's president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has said Turkey has an agreement with Russia over the assault. The U.S. detailed plans last week to continue backing Kurdish forces in the region to ensure that ISIS or other rogue elements don’t regain control of the territory, setting up fuel for the showdown to continue.

Now that ISIS lacks a physical caliphate in the region, the powers with overlapping and conflicting interests in the region are butting heads — not that they weren’t before. The conflict now is taking on a different form, one in which the various parties in Syria tend to disagree about Syria’s future, in which a political solution post-ISIS remains to be determined, and on top of all that, the war is ongoing. These tensions will only ramp up from here.

Keep in mind...

  • Russia supports a Syrian future with President Bashar al-Assad in power.
  • Iran has been backing Assad as well.
  • Turkey's Erdogan broke with Russia and Iran last month when he called Assad a terrorist and questioned whether there could be a political solution involving the president.
  • The U.S. has said there is no future for Assad in Syria, but has also said the future of Syria must be determined by the Syrian people.

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Congressional leaders clinch support for crucial defense bill, debt limit votes

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer passes waiting reporters on Tuesday. Photo: Eric Lee/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Congress has found a shortcut to pass its annual defense funding bill and raise the debt limit.

Driving the news: The House voted Tuesday night on two major bills — one creating a one-time, fast-track process for the Senate to raise the debt ceiling with just 51 votes, and another passing its annual defense bill.

House passes annual defense bill

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The House voted to pass the annual defense bill 363-70 on Tuesday night, authorizing nearly $770 billion in funding for defenses and national security programs.

Why it matters: The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) still has to clear the Senate, but the House passage greatly increases the chances that the must-pass defense bill will move through both chambers of Congress before the end of the year.

Women politicians are under siege

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photos: Kevin Dietsch, Stefani Reynolds, and Alex Wong/Getty Images

Women in Congress feel besieged and singled-out amid surging threats against lawmakers at all levels, with some frustrated more hasn't been done to halt the trend.

Why it matters: As record numbers of American women are being elected to public office, their growing political power is being met with death and rape threats, sexist and racist abuse and online disinformation. Collectively, it's discouraged women from running for office.