With the conclusion of the negotiations over Iran's nuclear program, and as we near the deadline for Congress to approve the agreement, the foreign policy winds are shifting back to Syria. While we saw expanded use of military force in fighting ISIL by the U.S. and Turkey, it's time to turn back to diplomacy.  It's early days but there may be hope. Bashar al Assad remains unwilling to step down, even as his regime's control over the country continues to dissolve. But several moves in recent weeks suggest that we might be getting closer to some mediation and progress towards a negotiated settlement. This week, Turkey and Iran secured a 48-hour ceasefire between opposition forces and the regime and its aligned Hezbollah fighters in key flashpoints of the conflict in Zabadani, near Damascus and two villages in the Idlib province. The temporary truce comes as Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif meets with Assad in Damascus. Meanwhile, at a meeting in Moscow, Saudi Arabian officials could not support a Russian push for a coalition to fight ISIL over the fact that such a plan would involve working with the Assad regime, "Assad is a part of the problem, not a part of the solution to the Syrian crisis.” While there is no question Assad is indeed part of the problem and has been from the beginning, it is difficult to see a path to a negotiated solution that excludes completely elements of the regime.