"A spokesman for Ahrar Al Sham said that the organization accepted to negotiate. The talks started in the beginning of August in Istanbul and ended with a deal on a short cease fire without solving the problem. “The Iranians have gone mad. They want us to give up Zabadani, move its people out, and in return they will move all the inhabitants of Kafraya and Foua’a and relocate them in a site close to the Lebanese borders or in the Rif of Hama. They warned us and the Turks that if we capture the two villages, they will move the Shia inhabitants out anyway but will then reduce the two villages to rubbles. They will level them to earth. We refused the offer”, the Spokesman said.
The Iranians have not gone mad. They are simply implementing what we described previously as “Plan B”. It is obvious that the trilateral alliance has a clear concept of how Syria will be partitioned. Zabadani will be the spring board to clear the southern Damascus belt of either opposition presence or Sunni presence or both if necessary. The idea is to secure Qalamoun and Damascus, re-enforce defenses around the controlled stretch of territory that includes Hama and then see what will come in the diplomatic channels.
While it is normal that the joint Assad-Hezbollah-IRGC command has a clear division of labor that serves one clear plan, it is not obvious that the Syrian opposition has a unified parallel plan, either to abort the trilateral partitioning intentions or to wage a meaningful counter-attack." Middle East Briefing
It is clear now that the scheming and maneuvering of the US, Israel, Saudi Arabia and Turkey have finally weakened the Syrian government enough to being about its downfall in the not too far distant future.
The impending emergence of Iran from international isolation reduces the willingness of the Iranian government to endlessly, and expensively continue to support the Syrian government. The IRGC may wish to fight on forever in Syria but the government and the Ayatollahs probably do not.
The Arab author of this piece is hostile to the Syrian government but IMO he has it right when he speculates that what he calls the "trilateral alliance" (Syrian Army/IRGC/Hizbullah) now see their best chance of salvaging something from the coming "train wreck" as being a demography based partition agreed to at some negotiating table. Such a partition will require considerable ethno-sectarian cleansing and transfer of populations from areas to areas, something like the Ataturk/Venizelos transfer of the 20s.
IMO the jihadis of various colorations will dominate post Assad Syria. They will struggle over the extent of their territories and the Alawis, Shia and Christians will become residents of a besieged coastal enclave or reduced to dhimmitude under the jihadis.
Will the "trilateral alliance" be able to hold Damascus very long after Assad departs? I doubt it, and then the butchery will really begin. pl