In the twisted calculus of today's presidential election, President Bashar al-Assad will claim legitimacy by getting a smaller percentage of the vote than in years past.
Russia worked on its ally Syria to allow UN aid access to the besieged city of Homs. That humanitarian moment should now lead to a UN demand for access to all 9.3 million displaced.
The agreement to establish cease-fires to allow aid delivery was the sole accomplishment of the last round of Syria peace talks, but the first mission in Homs was marred by violence.
UN-sponsored talks in Switzerland yielded a provisional agreement to allow civilians to leave a besieged city, but rebel demands for a dictator's exit are hitting a wall.
A multilateral effort to destroy the Syrian government's chemical arsenal cleared its first hurdle after missing year-end deadline.