And the UN special envoy to Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi, said as much on Tuesday when he acknowledged that the regime “may be able to hold onto power for now.”

Assad reportedly told visitors that the Syrian army has “regained the initiative on the ground to a very high degree and achieved important results” as “armed groups received several hard blows recently,” according to Lebanese daily Al Akbhar.

Akbhar’s report makes it sound like Assad regime’s new tactics — leaving non-significant areas only to bomb them and force the population to live under rebel rule without basic necessities — are going according to plan. Assad reportedly said the regime has “stopped fighters from controlling whole [provinces]” and all of the key strategic points around Damascus have “remained safe, especially the airport road.”