The accusations in all of this are flying thick and fast. Assad announces that he's going to retake the whole country; moments later the Saudi's pop up and announce that he most definitely is not and will in fact be being deposed in short order. Meanwhile the mass deaths on the ground carry on with no real end in sight.
So it goes.
About all one can say about this mess is that Russia looks increasingly like the 'winner'. As Septisticle has pointed out
The important question to ask then is: how has Putin done this? It's very simple. He had a plan. A plan with some actual steps to achieving his objective. And it's pretty simple to understand. It goes: 1) shore up Assad's position, through using airstrikes. 2) Expand airstrikes, pretending to be focused on Daesh when really hitting any opposition forces, allowing Assad to expand outwards and begin retaking the country. 3) Continue this until Assad has secured the countries borders and reimposed his rule.
And that's it really. And it illustrates why our attempts have been such failures. We had no plan other than BIFO (Bomb In and Fuck Off), which was done for the noble intention of winning plaudits and stemming the tide of
What we should learn from this, of course, is that we should in advance decide what it is we want to achieve, then work out how we're going to achieve it and leave enough oversight for potential unexpected alterations and unknowable's.
I mean we won't learn any of this, but it's comforting to know that the lesson is there.