In comments today, Syrian Deputy Prime Minister Qadri Jamil said that his country is now “ready” for a ceasefire with the rebels, and will advocate for one at the Geneva II peace conference assuming it ever actually takes place.
“Neither the armed opposition nor the regime is capable of defeating the other side,” Jamil confirmed, saying that there was no expectation that either side was going to be able to get out of the stalemate for quite some time.
Jamil also said his government was supportive of the idea of UN ceasefire monitors being deployed to Syria to keep the rebels and military from fighting, so long as the troops were from “neutral or friendly countries.”
Incredibly, Jamil also confirmed that “for all practical purposes the regime in its previous form has ended,” and that the government is resigned to dramatic reforms and thinks it would be easier if the West would stop threatening them.
The Geneva II conference, agreed to by US and Russian officials and to be organized with the help of UN official Lakhdar Brahimi, was supposed to take place in June, then got bumped back to July.
Here we are in mid-September, and there’s still been no agreement on a date for the conference, though officials have expressed hope that it will be revived with the disarmament deal. A big problem is that none of the major rebel factions has agreed to take part yet, and there are such broad differences among secular and jihadist factions it’s hard to imagine them being able to provide a unified negotiation position to talk with the government.