White House: Priority in Syria Is to Oust Assad

With Rebel-Free Talks Looming, No End in Sight for War

by Jason Ditz, May 31, 2013

Fighting in Syria’s civil war is, as ever, stalemated. The most recent fighting on the ground has seen government troops retaking some territory from the rebels, but it’s a slow and arduous journey, suggesting that the war is likely to go on for a long time to come without a real resolution.

The prospect of the war lasting years longer is what initially brought Russia and the US together to agree to work on a transition out of war. Yet even that effort, which is supposed to be capped at June’s Geneva Conference, is not looking promising.

Syria’s rebels have rejected the idea of attending, though the Assad government has agreed to take part. The US looks like it is throwing the idea of a negotiated settlement under the bus as well, with the White House insisting today that its top priority in Syria is to impose a regime change including Assad’s ouster.

Previous reports had suggested the US was warming to the idea of a power-sharing deal to end the civil war, amid fear that the violence is spreading region-wide. With today’s comments it seems the White House is back where it started, demanding a unilateral surrender from the Syrian government, and tacitly accepting an ongoing war rather than putting up with a realistic deal.

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