After Aleppo, Syria's Assad still far from regaining his state

The expected fall of Aleppo would mean rebels have almost no chance of ousting Assad, but their revolt has left him in hock to foreign allies, resigned to the loss of swathes of his country for the time being and with tough pockets of resistance still to crush.

“Certainly it is not the end of the war … But when you take Aleppo, you control 90 percent of the fertile areas of Syria, the regions that hold the cities and markets, the populated regions,” said a senior pro-Damascus official in the region.

However, the battlefield victories that seem – for now – to have secured Assad’s rule have been won in large part not by his own depleted military, but by Russian warplanes and a shock force of foreign Shi’ite militias backed by Iran.

Assad will rely on Moscow and Tehran to take back more territory, and to hold and secure it, meaning he will have to balance his own ambitions with theirs.