It is not about Syrian President Bashar al-Assad staying on for six months or six years. The Geneva talks, we were told, was a forum to try and end the killing in Syria based on UN resolution 2254. The Assad regime and its close associates should depart as soon as possible, if what is left of Syria stands any chance of being stabilized and reconstructed.
The Geneva talks will continue to scratch the surface of the Syrian problem as long as there is no consensus on Assad’s departureMohamed Chebarro
De Mistura discreetly raises the issue when meeting US officials. When meeting leaders of countries that back the Syrian opposition, such as Saudi Arabia and Turkey, the future of Assad is high on the agenda. When meeting Syrian regime officials, De Mistura focuses on the fight against terror and ways to alleviate humanitarian suffering caused by ISIS.