Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has been in Syria today holding extremely important talks with President Bashar Assad, during which Assad is said to have committed to halting the ongoing violence in the country.
The pledges from Assad seem to point to Russia’s efforts at mediation moving forward. A top member of the opposition Syrian National Council (SNC) says that the group is open to Russian-coordinated talks. This is also a positive sign, given that a previous SNC official had insisted that they were not open to talks under any circumstances.
At the same time, violence has continued in Homs, and the Interior Ministry is vowing a “continued offensive” against the rebel factions still active in the city. The number of dead today appears to be significantly smaller than in previous days, but the opposition still says shelling is ongoing.
Even if the SNC does join in the talks, it might not stop the violence. The Free Syrian Army (FSA) operates entirely separately and has ruled out any negotiated solution, saying only “military options” will be considered.