As Presidents Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin prepare for their summit in Helsinki on July 16, fears over America’s declining credibility on the world stage are already acute. After his performance at the G-7 last month, Trump seems set to undercut allies in Europe once again — while failing to push back on possible Russian interference in the U.S. midterm elections this November. But there’s a more immediate worry: Can Trump stand by his own word on the agreement he personally signed with Russia and Jordan for a cease-fire in southern Syria?
Moscow is already undermining the deal, concluded in Amman last November and confirmed personally by Trump in a meeting with Putin in Vietnam later that month. In the past week, Russia has been bombing hospitals and targeting civilians from the air to support the Bashar al-Assad regime’s attacks against opposition-held areas in southern Syria. Just last Thursday, 17 civilians hiding in an underground shelter were killed in an airstrike as part of the growing offensive in the southern province of Daraa.This article was originally published in Foreign Policy.