Precise dates or timing is subject to unknown political and military calculations and is impossible to call; however the trends appear as follows;
Russia and Syria are determined to liberate Idlib province from the thousands of Islamic Terrorists in that province. Russia’s interest lies in the fact that nearly 15,000 of the Islamic fighters are“foreign terrorists.” Around 600 from European countries, some 6,000 from Chechnya and Russian Caucasus and some 7,000 from Central Asia, mostly Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Russia and China, with several thousand Uighur Islamists from Xinjiang, who are members of the banned Turkistan Islamic Party (TIP), Al Qaeda’s branch in China.
Besides the need for Syria to demolish these Islamic Extremist terrorists, it is imperative that Russia deal with these extremists for its own long term security. On the other side is Turkey and its proxy the Free Syrian Army; and US, Allied and Israeli interests.
Turkey has made a deal, that Russia, Iran and Syria will take out the Islamic Extremists but will leave the Turkish forces and their proxies alone. Since the Idlib operation is actually essential to ALL parties it will probably go forward with the West publicly condemning the operation but privately pleased.
To minimize casualties in the advancing force it will be necessary to heavily bomb all identifiable targets before the land operation, this is a process likely to take weeks,
At some point, probably closer to the American midterm elections, a chemical incident is expected which will be blamed on Syria, providing a reason for an American/Allied bombardment of Syria which may last from one to several days and will be accompanied by further sanctions on Syria and or Russia.
These heavy air strikes will probably target the Syrian air force and air defense systems, perhaps justified by a claim that the chemical attack came from the air. The real purpose of the chemical incident and these attacks is to prepare for the next phase of the war.
The American actions will not prevent or stop the essential land operation; and out of necessity Syrian troops will continue moving to exterminate the Islamic Extremists in Idlib.
Once the Islamist Extremists are collapsing and many thousands of Syrian troops are engaged in battle, watch for the Israeli situation with Hamas, Hezbollah and the Iranian backed militias in Syria to heat up. Israel will move to crush the Hamas Military Wing and other Gaza extremists, and also attack Hezbollah and the Iranian backed militias in Syria, the chemical incident and heavy US/Allied air strikes on Syria will help substantially in preparing the battle for Israel.
When or as Hamas, Hezbollah and the Iranian backed militias are destroyed the US will be standing by to launch an aerial campaign on the Iranian Revolutionary Guards and change the regime in that nation.
As or when Hamas, Hezbollah and the Iranian backed militias, as well as the power of Iran and Syria are destroyed; Turkey and the Turkish backed Free Syrian Army can rush into Assad’s power base in Latakia province and overthrow the Assad regime in Syria.
At some point elections could be called in Israel and when all of the dust settles and new governments are in place, a genuine dialogue for peace leading to a Middle East peace deal will take place.
This process of conflict could take six months or longer before genuine peace talks. See the many articles in this category on trends and events through the coming years.