Russian forces entered an area adjoining Raqqa according to a Russian TV channel and other reports. The Russian forces on trucks gave out humanitarian aid, according to video at RT. Raqqa was liberated from ISIS by the Syrian Democratic Forces backed by the US-led coalition. The US decided to withdraw from parts of Syria in early October, opening the way to give over areas the US helped liberate to Russia, Iran, Turkey and other countries. The Syrian regime received a handsome reward, saving it thousands of lives so it could have Raqqa given to it. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Russian troops did not enter Raqqa city itself, only the northern countryside.US policy in Syria was once about defeating ISIS and stabilizing the area. But unlike Russia or Iran, the US never saw a long-term commitment and didn’t believe that it needed to be loyal to its partners on the ground. Instead US diplomats saw the SDF as a “temporary, transactional and temporary” relationship. The SDF had to sign a deal with the Syrian regime to slow down a Turkish offensive in October and Russia and Turkey helped partition part of Syria as the US left. Now Russia is going into Raqqa to give out food and win hearts and minds. The US left Raqqa, despite the fact that more than 10,000 members of the SDF had died fighting ISIS and the US had encouraged the SDF to take Raqqa in October 2017.The handing out of humanitarian aid on the road to Raqqa is a message that Russia cares about the local people and it is designed as a confidence building gesture to contrast with the US role which doesn’t involve any humanitarian support. For instance, after the US withdrew and Turkey attacked America’s former partners near Tel Abyad, more than 200,000 people fled. US diplomats have shown no interest in helping IDPs or refugees in Syria, or the 17,000 who had to flee to Iraq from Syria due to the Turkish attack. Where the US sees a “transaction” in Syria and now talks about “securing the oil,” the Russians are emblazoning their trucks with stories of “Russia is with you,” a symbolic message, even if it is mostly propaganda.The larger story is whether Russia will continue to send troops or aid to Raqqa or if this was a one-time gesture to test the waters. It appears that it is part of another plan by the Syrian regime to negotiate with Arab tribes and other groups by sending a delegation to Qamishli and continue outreach that is designed to undermine the remaining US role in Syria.Russia has claimed in the past that the US neglected Raqqa and that there was danger of extremism and ISIS support re-emerging. The aid is designed to counteract that, or at least begin a process of Russian involvement in Raqqa.