Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan prepares for an interview in New York City, U.S. September 19, 2016. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Time was that Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan dedicated large parts of his speeches to condemning Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad for atrocities against his people, calling for his ouster and urging greater support for the rebels fighting him.
Now, as Syrian government forces capture swathes of eastern Aleppo, threatening to crush the opposition in its most important urban stronghold, Assad and the battle for what was once Syria’s biggest city get little more than passing mention.
NATO member Turkey has been one of the main backers of Syria’s rebels since early in the near six-year war.
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But rapprochement with Russia, one of Assad’s main allies, frustration with U.S. policy, and an overriding concern about securing its borders against Kurdish militia fighters and Islamic State have seen Ankara scale back its ambitions.
“At the moment, Turkey’s foreign policy in Syria is hostage to Russia. Russia controls the …