After months of battlefield stalemate in Syria, a flurry of reports from Washington, Jerusalem, Amman and the Gulf suggests a major new clandestine effort is under way to open up a “southern front” against the regime of Bashar al-Assad.

Central to the mooted plan is a renewed push to provide Syria’s badly divided and often ineffectual moderate, secular rebel groups with additional funding, upgraded weapons and intelligence support.

What use they may make of such support, if indeed it fully materialises, remains to be seen.