Map of Syria and Iraq with ISIS control of areas in Red
Perhaps it was inevitable, US war with Russia ominously about to come to pass in Syria.
Read Mike Whitney's prescient analysis, "Ending Syria's Nightmare will Take Pressure From Below"  and one comes away a clash between the two nuclear powers in Syria is likely if the US pursues its present course dividing Syria into "Interim zones of stability".
That's just "newspeak" for the "safe zones" in Syria Hillary Clinton advocated during her presidential campaign.
Remember, detente with Russia was the one foreign policy issue that clearly separated Trump from Hillary during the campaign where a hoped for clash with Russia could be averted. But now let's dispel any notion Trump is going to seek detente with Russia. It's a dead issue.
Also remember it was Trump who said, "We will pursue a new foreign policy that finally learns from the mistakes of the past...We will stop looking to topple regimes and overthrow governments". Well the Deep State would have none of that sending the notion quickly down the memory hole soon after Trump mouthed the words.
Trump's detente with Russia was a thin reed to hold onto considering conscience and integrity weren't exactly the "Donald's" strong suits. Not from a self important egotist who easily caved before the Deep State by dumping Michael Flynn as his National Security advisor who favored detente with Russia.
Now as Whitney recognizes, with James "Mad Dog" Mattis as Defense Secretary and Lt. General HR McMaster as National Security advisor, both "anti-Moscow hardliners" the "risks of a catastrophic clash with Moscow" has increased exponentially with both seeing Moscow as a "hostile revisionist power" that "annexes territory, intimidates our allies, develops nuclear weapons and uses proxies under cover of modernized conventional militaries".
For the US recognizing the sovereignty of Syria under President Bashar Assad and retaining its present borders was never the intention. It was always bringing about regime change, training and equipping proxy jihadist mercenaries to take down the regime, then carving up Syria as part of its sinister machinations.
Only Russian intervention in Syria since September 2015 prevented the Assad regime from collapsing and its recent liberating of east Aleppo by the Syrian Arab Army from ISIS control has fully stabilized the regime along with its intention to liberate Raqqa from ISIS control-something now in direct conflict with US intentions to defeat ISIS and control Raqqa.
The US has now intervened directly in east Syria sending Marines as "advisors" to the SDF, Syrian Democratic Forces- mostly Kurdish fighters-to capture Raqqa along with recapturing Mosul in Iraq thereby creating "an autonomous Kurdish homeland carved out of west Iraq and east Syria...US objectives focus primarily on the breakup of the Syrian state, the removal of the elected government, the control over critical pipeline routes, and the redrawing of national borders to better serve the interests of the US and Israel".
That's the plan in a nutshell. But it's also in "conflict with Moscow's goal of restoring Syria's sovereign borders".
As Whitney sees it, "Either Russia ceases its clearing operations in east Syria or Washington agrees to withdraw its US-backed forces when the battle is over. If neither side gives ground, there's going to be a collision between the two nuclear-armed adversaries".
Whitney ends his piece with, "The Trump administration's plan to splinter Syria and establish a permanent garrison in the eastern part of the country won't be stopped unless the American people express their opposition en masse. People will have to get more involved if they want the bloodletting to end. There's no other way".
Well to this septuagenarian the last time I saw-and was a part of-a significant number of Americans getting involved as Whitney says to "get the bloodletting to end" was in the late 1960's and early '70's to end the Viet Nam war.