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Just a few days before, the UK minister for the Middle East, Alistair Burt, expressed “deep concern” about reports of chlorine attacks on the rebel-held enclave of Eastern Ghouta outside Damascus – phrasing that sounded very like an attempt to revive flagging public support for the rebel cause.
With President Bashar al-Assad looking more secure than he has since the conflict began seven years ago, with any territorial gains being made almost entirely by the government side, and with Syrian Kurdish forces – who did much to defeat Isis – now increasingly fighting for their own interests near the Turkish border, the time has surely come for the variegated anti-Assad opposition to sue for peace.
The attentions of all its neighbours are currently directed the other way.
This is not to say Israel does not feel threatened – it minutely tracks the activities of Hezbollah across its borders with Lebanon and Syria – although the actual fighting in Syria has moved northwards and eastwards compared with before.
Thus far, aside from Assad – who is weakened, but still in power – there seem to be two real winners in Syria.
And the reason offered by senior military and political officials was that this was the first time since its founding that Israel faced no threat from any state on its borders.
Any involvement has thus been highly circumscribed and wholly on Israel’s terms.
The luxury of having options, however, could be coming to an end.
The US Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, said last month that the US would be keeping a military presence in Syria, in part to combat what Washington, too, sees as rising Iranian influence.
One consolation might be the recent signs of unrest in Iran, which included public hostility towards foreign operations draining money from the home front.