Kurdish threat made worse by Pentagon backing forcing Ankara to dream of business as usual with Damascus
It has been apparent for a while now that powers which sough regime-change in Syria from 2011 to about 2016 -- most importantly Turkey, the US, and Saudi Arabia -- have since resigned themselves to the fact Assad won't be dislodged and his government will not fall.
Turkey has now gone a step further and has signaled it would be open to restoring relations with Assad, if only he organized a "democratic election" -- meaning an election in which the Turkish-backed Islamists were allowed to run.
It is easy to by cynical about such a Turkish statement but actually in view of the fact that Turkey remains the single-most important protector and sponsor of what remains of the Syrian Islamist rebellion in the north of the country that is an extraordinary statement.
Despite the intimate ties between the Islamists in Ankara and Idlib the former are willing to go back to business as usual with Assad, if only he will grant them a face-saving election which he is sure to win.
The Islamists in Idlib will grind their teeth, but from the point of view of Turkey, between the Kurds and Assad, the latter is the lesser evil. Moreover as the legitimate head of the Syrian state Assad can curtail Kurdish ambition and be useful to Ankara's security concerns in ways the divided and defeated Islamists wholly dependent on Turkish monies and protection can not.