The Syrian army backed by Russian air strikes is aiming to capture the historic city of Palmyra from Islamic State to open a road to the eastern province of Deir al-Zor in an offensive that got under way this week, a source close to the Syrian government said.
The Russian air force has hit Palmyra with dozens of air strikes since Wednesday, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group.
Unless we save Assad by defeating or neutralizing his enemies, I just don't see how Assad could possibly hold territory this far east even if Assad's forces defeat ISIL forces that far east.
In the short run, holding Palmyra at least helps Assad's forces shield Damascus.
But if the Russians and Iranians engineer a ceasefire that takes the non-jihadi rebels out of the fight, Assad could hold this terrain.
Even if there is a lovely signing ceremony in an Austrian castle complete with fancy wax seals and brightly colored ribbons, we're not dumb enough to go along with that kind of plan, are we?
I'm not sensing an American victory on this path.