Just days after the deadline set by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry for President Bashar Assad to begin a political transition in Syria, fighting is raging in Aleppo, the last urban stronghold of the rebels opposed to the regime. The United States, however, is not coming to their rescue, because the wrong kind of rebels are involved in the battle. In terms of helping to end the war, the U.S. inaction may be worse than the scenario touted by Donald Trump — an alliance with Russia to defeat Islamic State — but it's more politically acceptable.

The group formerly known as Jabhat al-Nusra attempted to rebrand itself as Fatah al-Sham at the end of July, ostensibly distancing itself from its mother organization, al-Qaida. It now appears to be the driving force behind a rebel attempt to break the Syrian army's siege. The desperate attack — supplies have been running out in eastern Aleppo — appears to have fizzled: With Russian air support, the regime forces and their Iranian and Lebanese allies are pushing back and holding the siege, which cuts the rebels off from Turkey.

In any case, since its failed coup, Turkey appears to be more aligned with Russia than with the rebels. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has stepped up his anti-American rhetoric, accusing the U.S. of complicity in the coup attempt.