With the rebels leaving, the peace process in Geneva is in tatters, and with all factions once again gearing up for offensives, the ceasefire doesn’t look like it will last much longer. Officials say there is no date scheduled for additional talks, and last week officials cautioned it might take a year to make a serious run at another deal.
But what happens next? That’s not at all clear. There were a few alternative proposals raised during the peace talks, but none sound like they’ve got realistic support, and hopes for a serious new push in the near term seem remote.
Rebels are continuing to insist the ouster of Assad is the key to the whole thing, while neither Assad’s government nor the Russians are willing to concede that as a precondition, saying Assad’s status should be decided in elections.
UN envoy Staffan de Mistura even admitted he raised the possibility of reducing Assad’s powers by giving more power to his deputies, though this appeared to satisfy no one, while rebels military defectors suggested installing a military council to rule the country, which military leaders seem to like, but no one else.
In the near term, the result is likely just more fighting, as while everyone seemed for a time to be sick enough of the civil war to take a break and negotiator, there still isn’t much appetite to compromise on a post-war situation.