IMO the Astana Peace process will go nowhere, will soon disintegrate and then the situation in western Syria will require further offensive action on the part of R+6 to insure Syrian Government control of Idlib Province.
Since the fall of eastern Aleppo City to government forces action has been in what are IMO mainly peripheral areas. Palmyra, pockets around Damascus, even SAA participation in the anti-IS fighting at al-Bab, and at Deir al-Zor are none of them critical to the government's fate. The SAR has been negotiating surrender arrangements all over western Syria with pockets of jihadis/unicorns. Part of the surrender agreement is always the voluntary removal of the super hard core cadres to Idlib Province. As a result, a steady build up of rebel forces there has been underway for some time. This is somewhat reduced by a steady stream of air attacks on them that now includes USAF attacks.
A question in my mind is whether or not Mattis and Flynn accept the idea that Idlib Province must be cleared of rebels for peace to have a chance in Syria. Thus far they seem to be obsessed with the notion that Iran and Hizbullah are the bad actors on the Syrian scene rather than the jihadis/unicorns. IMO the yes-men Flynn has bee hiring are unlikely to argue for other than group think. pl