Jan 02,2017 – JORDAN TIMES – Gwynne Dyer
So far the endgame in Syria has played out in an entirely predictable way.
All of Aleppo is back in the Syrian government’s hands; that decisive victory for President Bashar Assad and his Russian backers has been followed by a ceasefire, and the Russians are now organising a peace conference in Astana, Kazakhstan, for later this month.
The one surprise is that Turkey, long the rebels’ most important supporter, will be co-chairing the conference. This means that Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has made a deal of some sort with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, for Astana is clearly going to be a Russian show.
So what kind of deal has Erdogan made with Putin?
The details may well have been fudged, for Turkey has not yet renounced its long-standing insistence that Assad must step down as the Syrian leader.
But it is pretty easy to figure out most of what is going to be on the table in Astana (assuming the ceasefire holds until then).
Assad has won the war, thanks largely to Russian and Iranian intervention, and the Syrian rebels are doomed.
There is no point in their fighting on, because all their outside supporters are peeling away.