Vladimir Putin is in the driving seat because the West wants Assad gone and is ambivalent about ISIS whose paymasters in the Gulf states are major buyers of military hardware from America, France, Italy and the UK.
By focussing on ISIS, Putin forces the West to make an unpalatable choice, either back Assad or put boots on the ground to destroy ISIS.
This puts Turkey, one of our supposed NATO allies on the spot, and is going to create costs for the EU in the form of more refugees.
Putin can wind his military operations down if the EU and America reduce sanctions on Russia but if they don’t he has no reason to do anything but ramp up his military actions, destroy ISIS and bloody the noses of the Gulf states.
In my book, Putin is running rings round Obama!