Assad was not among the dozens of leaders gathered in New York for the annual UN meeting, but will have been heartened by his allies’ demand that the world focus on defeating the jihadist threat.

“I think today everyone has accepted that President Assad must remain so that we can combat the terrorists,” Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said, in an interview with CNN.

That may be overstating the case: The United States and its allies continue to hold Assad responsible for a civil war that has left 240,000 Syrians dead and created the conditions for extremism to thrive.

But, on the day that France began bombing IS targets inside Syria, momentum appeared to be building behind the idea of leaving Assad in place while a political solution to the conflict is sought.