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When the city falls to the regime, through blood or by negotiation, the war against Assad will, finally, be lost.
If the British and others are right, then much of what has looked immovable in the Middle East is going to be very different.
Binyamin Netanyahu, Naftali Bennett, Yisrael Beytenu - each of Israel's potential leaders faces an uncertain future as the country votes.
War has been raging in Syria for nearly four years and much of the country is in ruins, yet Bashar al-Assad is still in power. And the view from the presidential palace is brightening.
In Damascus, the war seems to have receded, and Bashar al-Assad looks more comfortable than ever.
The war in Syria is made of several smaller wars that sometimes run in parallel and sometimes cross over, like railway junctions on the express to hell.
The BBC's Middle East editor reports from Gaza.