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President Putin meets President of Syria Bashar Al-Assad in Sochi, Russia, on May 17, 2018. Photo: Kremlin Press Office/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

In yesterday’s press conference with President Trump in Helsinki, President Putin expressed concern for the plight of Syrian refugees, suggesting that Russia aimed “to overcome humanitarian crisis and help [them] to go back to their homes.” That rings hollow.

Reality check: The current Syrian army offensive has triggered the single biggest displacement of the war, and it's backed by Russia. As of last week, the UN estimated more than 230,000 people are still on the move across southwest Syria, having fled the violence wrought by Russian planes and Assad’s ground troops. Earlier this month, that number was nearly 330,000 people.

The offensive, which began in June, violates a “de-escalation” agreement that Russia negotiated with the U.S. and Jordan last summer. It has taken a devastating toll on civilians, not least because of Russian airstrikes. Meanwhile, Assad’s regime has used chemical weapons on its own people and planned to confiscate the property of those forced to flee, seemingly without perturbing Putin.

In the past, the U.S. has held the Russian government at least partially responsible for the Assad regime’s conduct. Not yesterday.

[UNSUPPORTED BLOCK TYPE: axiom]

Jessica Brandt is a fellow in the foreign policy program at the Brookings Institution.

Go deeper

Super typhoon Surigae explodes to Cat. 5 intensity

Super Typhoon Surigae seen on satellite imagery Saturday morning east of the Philippines. (CIRA/RAMMB)

Super Typhoon Surigae surged in intensity from a Category 1 storm on Friday to a beastly Category 5 monster on Saturday, with maximum sustained winds estimated at 190 mph with higher gusts.

Why it matters: This storm — known as Typhoon Bising in the Philippines — is just the latest of many tropical cyclones to undergo a process known as rapid intensification, a feat that studies show is becoming more common due to climate change.

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

What we know about the victims of the Indianapolis mass shooting

Leaders of the Sikh Satsang of Indianapolis participate in an interview addressing their grief. Photo: Jon Cherry/Getty Images

Law enforcement in Indianapolis have identified the eight people killed in Thursday's shooting at a FedEx facility.

The big picture: The Sikh Coalition said at least four of the eight victims were members of the Indianapolis Sikh community.

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