US and coalition officials have repeatedly criticized the Syrian government for not being aggressive enough against ISIS, and Maj. Gen. Felix Gedney on Wednesday accused Syria of letting ISIS traverse their territory with “impunity,” despite substantially fighting between the two sides.
Still, despite going out of their way to portray Syria’s military is either incompetent or negligent in the ISIS war, coalition officials say they won’t target ISIS at all so long as their operations are inside Syrian government territory.
This could be very significant, as the US in particular tries to keep up some sort of legal pretext for keeping their military in Syria, nominally to “fight ISIS.” At present, those US troops are operating within Kurdish YPG territory, which at present isn’t under Syrian government control.
But the YPG aren’t talking secession by any means, and envision negotiating some sort of deal where they get nominal autonomy from the government at the end of the ISIS war, and that’s going to make it government territory in the long run.
While the US prefers to dismiss the idea of Syria eventually “defeating” the rebels and reunifying the country, there isn’t a lot of outright “rebel” territory left to be contested, and the Assad government seems virtually certain to survive, albeit with some reforms.