Adding to the growing number of Western nations backing away from demands for immediate regime change in Syria, Turkish officials today insisted that they are willing for Assad to stay in power for six more months, so long as it is purely “symbolic.”
British officials had similarly expressed support for a plan that left Assad in power, provided he leaves “at some point.” Turkey says they’re talking to the US and other allies about this “plan” for Syria, and expects the US to sell the idea to Russia.
The timing in that regard probably isn’t promising, as Russia was pushing the idea of a transitional government with Assad temporary at the head for months, spurned repeatedly by the US, before joining the war against ISIS on Assad’s side.
At this point, Russia is likely too committed to supporting Assad to revisit their old idea, and will probably resent Turkey suddenly dictating six month deadlines to them on the matter. With pro-US rebels talking up suicide attacks against Russia, it will likely be a hard sell to convince Russia that the “moderate” rebels are suitable allies at any rate.