From the day when the jaws of the Kurdish YPG stronghold at Sheikh Maqsood on the south and the Syrian Army Tiger Forces coming down from the north closed on the Castello Road at the north of the East Aleppo Pocket the lines of circumvalation have been complete and uninterrupted at Aleppo.
Some have have thought that the jihadi/unicorn effort at the SW of Aleppo city had broken the siege, but it did not. Many do not understand that for a route/road/path to be effective as an interruption of a siege it must be useful as a means of transportation for men/supplies/weapons. The penetration of the R+6 lines at SW Aleppo City was never anything like that. The breach was always heavily covered by fire and therefore never useful except for small groups like patrols. By "fire" I mean tank guns, artillery, recoilless rifles, mortars, machine guns and anything else that can shoot at the gap day and night. So far as I know, no supplies went into East Aleppo through the breach. Now, as is shown in the map above, the breach is completely closed and the lines of circumvallation made even stronger. IMO from a military POV rebel East Aleppo is doomed and the Rebel/US/Turkish attempt to relieve the besieged has utterly failed. The attempt to lift the siege of east Aleppo was IMO a maximum effort with assets that have largely been lost and which will be hard, if not impossible, to replace any time soon. the current rebel effort in north Hama Province is a kind of consolation prize for the rebels that will soon be eliminated as a threat.
John Kerry threatened "new measures" after 1 September while at the same time luring the Russians into accepting a "humanitarian" ceasefire. This temporary cessation of hostilities was IMO clearly a ruse de guerre which enabled the pro-rebel sponsoring powers to reinforce massively a rebel force designed to permanently break the government's siege of East Aleppo. It was expected that victory at Aleppo would be provided by Erdogan's enabling actions, but that effort failed and now Obama/Kerry are faced with a need to confront reality in Syria.
IMO Turkey has made a bargain with Russia and Iran in which support for all the rebels (both jihadi and FSA unicorns) who seek the destruction of the Syrian government will largely cease while the Turks are free to destroy Kurdish ambitions east of Aleppo City. The progress of the Russo-Turkish relationship is easily seen in Erdogan's surly nastiness as displayed toward Amtrak Joe Biden in Ankara and toward Obama in China.
With regard to IS, the US/Russian agreement will enable a campaign of extermination against them in eastern Syria and northern Iraq. The Turks will participate in that because Erdogan has come to see them as rivals in Islamism and a threat.
IMO, as a result of these basic changes in circumstances the Obamanites are in search of a face-saving compromise with the Russians over an end to the war in Syria. IMO this is reflected in the the soothing, friendly sounds from both Russia and the United States over the possibility of a ceasefire. Obama does not want to leave the mess in Syria as a stain on his legacy. Since belligerence has failed, he now looks for a prestige restoring alternative.
Can a thinly veiled defeat be disguised as a wonderfully skilled diplomatic success? Yes. The public outcome will promise things like; a new constitution, eventual exile for Bashar Assad, UN supervision of interim elections, etc., etc., ad nauseam.
The underlying truth will be that Syria will remain a multi-confessional state with Bashar Assad as president for a long time. If HC becomes president she will have to face the prospect of a new, and bigger war if she wishes to reverse the situation.
R+6 is going to win. pl