September was the deadliest month in Syria, with more than 3,000 people killed. Despite this, morale in Damascus is high, with president Bashar Al Assad and his Russian and Iranian allies all but declaring victory against the six-year insurgency that has destroyed much of his country and devastated most of its people. Mr Al Assad has good reason to celebrate, including a string of military successes and a recent decision by president Donald Trump to end the CIA’s training and equipping of moderate Syrian rebels.

This article was first published in The National