Secretary of State John Kerry is heading to Sochi, Russia for a meeting Tuesday with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Though a number of issues are expected to be raised, Syria will be the main focus.
Though both sides have an eye on some sort of political solution in Syria, it is unclear if there is enough common ground between the two to actually work together on the effort.
Russia is historically one of Syria’s closest allies, and Russia retains a naval base at Tartus. Russia has expressed hope that some sort of transition away from Assad can happen without risking their traditional alliance, while the US seems eager for a wholesale change, and the installation of new US allies in power.
The timing isn’t great for compromise between the US and Russia either, with the two nations at odds over a number of issues, including some high-profile NATO wargames along the Russian frontier.
Perhaps the biggest obstacle to accomplishing anything on Syria, however, is that neither the US nor Russia seems to be willing to see any of the major rebel factions, like ISIS and al-Qaeda, involved in the peace talks. Absent that, it seems that even if a deal is made, the war continues.