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Israel keeps tabs on Putin-Assad alliance

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s backing of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad reinforces the latter and might lead him to adopt a stronger approach vis-a-vis Israel.
Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad enter a hall during a meeting at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, October 20, 2015. Alexei Druzhinin/RIA Novosti/Kremlin/via REUTERS  ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS EDITORIAL USE ONLY.  SEARCH "ALEPPO TIMELINE" FOR THIS STORY - RTX2UYYY
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According to prevailing Israeli assessments, there is no expectation that the Assad regime will fall in the foreseeable future. In addition, Israeli experts believe that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has completed the task of securing the survival of the Syrian heartland, that is, having a government-controlled corridor based in the capital of Damascus that climbs north to Alawistan (the Alawi enclave in Latakia) to the port city of Latakia, with the cities of Aleppo and Homs also in his hands. Now he is attempting to spread his reach to Deir ez-Zor.

Over the last year, there has been a clear evolution in the map of shattered Syria. The Syrian heartland under Assad's control has been growing and expanding at a steady pace, while those areas under rebel control have been shrinking consistently. Even those territories under Islamic State control have been gnawed away quickly. Israeli experts estimate that the war in Syria will continue into the foreseeable future, but that the balance of power at this point clearly favors Assad.

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