U.S. intelligence analysts have told the White House that the Russian goal is to help the Syrian military retake the besieged city of Aleppo so that Moscow can resume talks on Syria’s future on vastly stronger terms.

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WASHINGTON — Russia is using the waning days of the Obama administration to strengthen President Bashar Assad’s hold on power, expand the territory he controls in Syria and constrain the options of the next U.S. president in responding to the civil war, according to a number of U.S. officials and Russian analysts.

The strategy of President Vladimir Putin of Russia, they say, is to move aggressively in what he sees as a prime window of opportunity — the four months between now and the 2017 presidential inauguration — when Putin calculates that the departing President Obama will be unlikely to intervene in the escalating Syrian conflict and a new U.S. president who might consider a tougher policy will not yet be in office.

“Putin is in a hurry before the American elections,” said Nikolai Petrov, a political scientist in Moscow. “The next American president will face a new reality and will be forced to accept it.”

U.S. intelligence analysts have told the White House that the Russian goal is to help the Syrian military retake the besieged city of Aleppo so that Moscow can resume talks on Syria’s future on vastly stronger terms, according to administration officials who asked not to be identified because they were discussing classified assessments.

Lending credence to that assessment, a senior U.S. intelligence official said Monday that the Russian and Syrian attacks that have been carried out since the Syrian government declared an end to a short-lived cease-fire on Sept. 19 have been some of the deadliest since the conflict began.

Divining Putin’s intentions has always been more art than science, but there is every indication that he sees Syria as a strategic interest. Russia’s intervention in the war represents the Kremin’s most important military foothold in the Middle East in decades and has enabled Moscow to showcase the military’s ability to project power.

The intervention has also enabled Moscow to stand by an ally, Assad, and to some extent carry out operations against the Islamic State group and Nusra Front, the terrorist groups that are the ostensible targets of Russia’s deployment in Syria.

The Syrian military has its weaknesses, including a manpower shortage that precludes it from securing the entire country and which has forced the Assad government to rely on fighters from Hezbollah, the Lebanese militia, Shiite fighters from Iraq and Afghanistan and Iranian advisers, along with Russian air power. So far the Assad government’s territorial gains have been minimal.

But Russia is trying to help Syrian forces take the rebel-held area of eastern Aleppo in hopes that it will significantly set back the opposition, enlarge the areas that Assad controls and put the Kremlin in a stronger position to shape the political talks, should they ever resume.

Under this scenario, the Syrian government would control five major population centers: Damascus, Homs, Hama, Aleppo and Latakia.

“It is possible that the end state is going to be something where there is a military stalemate but the regime is in the command position,” said Robert Ford, a former U.S. ambassador in Damascus and a former envoy to the Syrian opposition who is now a fellow at the Middle East Institute in Washington, D.C. Should the Syrian regime be successful, he added, “I don’t think the opposition will surrender — they are not going to stop fighting — but they will be marginalized.”

The Obama administration has used air power to safeguard areas of northern Syria where U.S. advisers are operating, although the Pentagon has steadfastly refused to call it a no-fly zone.

After Syrian warplanes dropped bombs in August near U.S. Special Forces on the ground, the Pentagon warned the Syrians to stay away. U.S. F-22 fighter jets drove home the message by patrolling the area.

But a successful Russia-Syria offensive on Aleppo would redraw the map in important ways and could complicate any plans for further U.S. military action in Syria.

This was not the outcome the White House envisioned a year ago when the Russians began to build up their air forces in Syria.

At first, the State Department sought to block the deployment by asking Bulgaria and other nations to close their airspace.

But the White House soon concluded that it was pointless to try to stop the Russian buildup, and some officials even thought it might even push Moscow toward a search for a political solution.

Now that talks for a reduction of violence and access to humanitarian aid have failed, the White House has renewed its considerations of military options, including airstrikes to deter the Assad government from trying to take Aleppo. But Obama has long been wary of getting drawn deeper into the conflict.