A LITTLE PIECE OF POLAND, A LITTLE PIECE OF FRANCE: Russia, Turkey, Iran are discussing chopping Syria into zones of influence.

Syria would be divided into informal zones of regional power influence and Bashar al-Assad would remain president for at least a few years under an outline deal between Russia, Turkey and Iran, sources say.

Such a deal, which would allow regional autonomy within a federal structure controlled by Assad’s Alawite sect, is in its infancy, subject to change and would need the buy-in of Assad and the rebels and, eventually, the Gulf states and the United States, sources familiar with Russia’s thinking say.

“There has been a move toward a compromise,” said Andrey Kortunov, director general of the Russian International Affairs Council, a think tank close to the Russian Foreign Ministry.

“A final deal will be hard, but stances have shifted.”

Assad’s powers would be cut under a deal between the three nations, say several sources. Russia and Turkey would allow him to stay until the next presidential election when he would quit in favor of a less polarizing Alawite candidate.

Makes one think of the Russo-Austro-Prussian partitions of Poland, but without any outright annexations.

This next part is rich:

The talks would be distinct from intermittent U.N.-brokered negotiations and not initially involve the United States.

That has irritated some in Washington.

“So this country that essentially has an economy the size of Spain, that’s Russia, is strutting around and acting like they know what they are doing,” said one U.S. official, who declined to be named because of the subject’s sensitivity.

Well, whose feckless posturing over Syria made that possible, Mr. Anonymous?