IMO there is a private understanding among DJT /Putin/Iran and Bashar Assad as to the desired outcome in Syria.:
- It is reported that the State Department and DoD were "blindsided" by Trump's instruction for them to stop supplying the SDF/YPG with arms and munitions. This fits with information reaching me from the field that CENTCOM has been ordered to cease kinetic air operations west of the Euphrates River
- The head of SDF/YPG has now indicated willingness to accept integration into the SAA in a post war federated Syria.
- Avigdor Lieberman the Israeli Minister of Defense has now stated that there are no Iranian combat units in Syria only advisors, logistic people and trainers, and that Israeli concern is for a future Iranian presence. That is a marked softening of previous Israeli positions.
- The Astana process and a constitutional and legislative conference in Damascus seem to be making progress.
- Putin and Assad met last week in Sochi for a "come to poppa" style meeting at which understandings were reached.
- HTS and IS are busy chopping each other up in the giant Idlib pocket. A clean up there can be expected once the mopping up between Deir al-Zor and Al-Qaim is completed.
- The Turks are reduced to muttering their usual snarls about what they expect or do not expect from people like Trump. In this case Erdogan hints darkly at yet more ill will if the Trump allows the Kurds to be further armed. I don't think Trump cares at all about the Kurds and no much about Turkey. Why should he?
- Syrian refugees are returning in large numbers from exile.
IMO the DEAL will include autonomy for the Syrian Kurds within a re-united Syria. There will be a new constitution that will modernize a number of outdated restrictions as to inclusiveness in Syrian government. There will then be internationally supervised national elections in which Bashar Assad will be re-elected by an electorate that includes refugees in Jordan, Turkey and Europe. pl