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As ISIS has made dramatic military advances over the past few months in Iraq and Syria, speculation has been growing that the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad might be eligible for gradual rehabilitation.A closer analysis reveals that the adverse consequences of any possible cooperation with Assad far outweigh the purported benefits. It is highly doubtful whether Assad even has the military means to roll back ISIS. That the Syrian army could be a "plausible ground force" against ISIS, as the former chairman of the Council on Foreign Relations, Leslie Gelb, proposes, appears rather implausible.The most efficient units that Assad can still field are largely composed of and overwhelmingly led by Alawites, while his foreign auxiliaries – the Lebanese Hezbollah and Iranian Revolutionary Guard – are exclusively composed of Shiites.Working with Assad would not only strengthen the appeal of jihadi groups in Syria but could jeopardize cooperation with moderate Sunnis, including parts of the Free Syrian Army.Turkey, already a reluctant ally, has made it abundantly clear that it considers Assad, not ISIS, to be the main problem.
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