There are multiple reports floating around the internet that Syrian President Bashar Al Assad has been escorted by the Russian military to the Lebanon border and whisked away to Tehran where he will be safe from American-led retribution. Here’s one in Arabic.

Here’s one in English.

That would be most glorious news and people would be celebrating in the streets all over the region. It would mean the United States had out maneuvered the Russians who seemed hellbent on protecting Assad from international reprisals. Removing Assad has been the stated of objective of the United States since the beginning of the 7 year-old civil war. The Department of Defense would be doing cartwheels and the president would be taking a victory lap-presser that would be playing live on every major network.

Alas, the logical explanation is the Iranians want the American-led coalition to believe this fanciful tale so the coalition does not come into Syria and ruin their image as “security providers”. Russia seems to actually realize how this would make them look as they published a full-throat’d denial of the breaking reports on their English language website, Sputnik.

The world isn’t lucky enough to have Bashar Al Assad simply walk away. It’ll likely be a much more involved ordeal.