Syrian opposition groups appear increasingly divided ahead of international peace talks, while Assad is confident his regime forces will prevail.
Russia has carried out its first airstrikes in southwest Syria in support of an Assad regime offensive. The battlefield space is one of the most geopolitically complex and explosive in the seven-year war.
A regime offensive in southern Syria has threatened to displace thousands near the Jordanian border. The US has warned Damascus of upending a ceasefire in the area, saying it will take "firm and appropriate measures."
Russian President Putin said the Syrian military's successes have created conditions for "the start of a political process on a major scale." Syria's Assad said progress would be made in the Astana peace talks.
Syria's president believes his country is caught up in a much larger conflict than its own civil war. He warned that "things are going to be out of control" if superpowers engage in direct conflict.
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