It began around August 2015 and continues until now. Only time will disclose the outcome and on that day Syria may not have too many reasons to rejoice.
On August 2015 Sergei Lavrov held formal talks with Khalid Khoja, leader of SNC (so-called Syrian opposition) for building "a broad coalition to fight IS" while simultaneously wooing Bashar al-Assad for the same purpose despite knowing that Khoja and Assad are far from friends. This is the same Khalid Khoja who left Syria at age 18. It's the same Khalid Khoja who believes that allowing the present Syrian government to survive would be a victory for Iran. It's the same person who said in his message as an SNC member in Turkey that the benefit of Zionist Israel lies in the ouster of Assad's government which "works for Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas." Even if Khoja agrees to fight IS, he will still want to break away Syria from the Axis of Resistance. Moreover, various ground fighters and commanders of SNC have close links with IS and ANF which Khoja is incapable of preventing. Don't forget to look up the comedy of betrayal involving Pentagon and its knight in shining armor - New Syrian Forces a.k.a. Division 30. Is Lavrov really crazy enough to imagine a handshake between Assad and Khoja based on such a proposal?
On Sept.16, 2015 Sergei Lavrov reportedly suggested to John Kerry for a "military-to- military conversation" to combat IS terrorists while the United States is already spending $100 million a week on airstrikes within Syria for simplifying the mission of those terrorists and consequently refusing to put "boots on the ground" in ISIL strongholds of Syria and Iraq.
A quick wrap of the Putin-mania as it stands at the moment, excluding lengthy details and the naive fervor. On Sept.26 'Telegraph' stated David Cameron "will soften his stance towards the brutal Syrian leader as a temporary measure" as if it's that pig's legal entitlement to dismiss and appoint Syrian leaders. That came with an insinuation of a 'victory' for Putin. Seemed far more like a warning that Syria could be a battleground for a much longer period than Viet Nam! The pig then flew to the U.S. to attend Putin's UN performance.
Despite the Russian leader's game of tricks n balances as an unidealistic player, Putin continues to cling to that conventional eyewash "UN will prevent international confrontations." He has been plain and open about his desire to coordinate Russian presence on Syrian soil with the US coalition despite yesterday's NYT report on Russian air force targeting Assad's opponents.
How much longer might it take the enthralled Vladimir supporters to catch this little chess tournament as a hard-nozed pragmatic move devoid of ideological principles?
If some day Syria is cleansed of the Al Qaeda marauders, will Bashar al-Assad finally be left alone? If not, and with the possible risk of terrorists infiltrating into Chechnya from Syria and Iraq eradicated, with no more chances of lucrative business and military contracts from an economically wreaked Syria, will defending Assad still be important to Mr. Putin? Or will he again become a recluse, try to disarm Syria with deceptive advise as he did in 2013 much to the pleasure of Israel? Still worse, will he then make efforts for a common cause with his EU/US partners calling for Assad to step down with the hope of distracting them from the turmoil in eastern Ukraine? Will it then be time for Vladimir Putin to resume his age old 'political love-life' with Israel and his favors for those thousands of nationalist Israeli Russian Jews who have also loyally been voting for him in every Russian election?
To make a long story short, none of these self-serving sluggards are worth an ounce of trust. If Syria is destined to survive, it can only happen with the endeavors and unconditional commitment of the Axis of Resistance. Considering the steady flow of weapons and money flowing into Syria since the last four years to assist foreign terrorists, if Hezbollah and Iran were not diligently helping the Syrian Arab Army behind the scenes, the SAA wouldn't have had the resources to handle this war beyond a couple of years and Assad would have almost certainly been toppled long ago. If Russia is serious about standing up to defend Syria, is it also interested in preserving the Axis of Resistance? If not, then its support for Bashar al-Assad is pretty much useless.