The United States, Russia and other regional and world powers considered a new plan Friday to set up a cease-fire in Syria within four to six months, followed by the formation of a transition government featuring both President Bashar Assad and opposition members, officials told The Associated Press.
Federica Mogherini, the European Union’s chief diplomat, said parties agreed to initiate a “U.N.-led” political process. But how long Assad could remain in power under a transition was still unclear.
The Western officials said the United States and its partners supported the timetable as a first phase toward ending the four-and-a-half year civil war that has killed more than 250,000 people and uprooted more than 11 million, leading to the growing terrorist threat of the Islamic State and sparking a refugee crisis throughout Europe. They said an agreement hadn’t yet been reached, but that the 19 nations meeting in Vienna were considering the idea.
The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to speak publicly on the matter, said that a follow-up meeting was expected as early as next week, with top diplomats possibly returning to Austria’s capital.
The indications of diplomatic progress coincided with the U.S. preparing to announce that a small number of America special operations forces will be sent to northern Syria to work with local ground forces in the fight against Islamic State militants. It would mark the first time American troops would be deployed openly on the ground in the country.
(Sidebar: please see here.)
There can be no ceasefire as long as ISIS remains standing. Even Putin must be aware of that. The US is humiliated and Europe is over-burdened with migrants. Iraq is in shambles.
In my opinion, this is a face-saving operation.