WASHINGTON — Looks like the Syrian civil war will end in a stalemate, unless the Syrian opposition drops its demands that current president Bashar al-Assad must be removed as head of state.
Reuters reported that the Western- and Saudi-backed opposition group, the Syrian National Coalition, refused to push for a transitional government with Assad still in charge. They demanded that Assad be removed as head of state before negotiations continued.
The rebels demanded that women and children be released from Syrian jails in addition to relaxation of siege parameters by the Syrian government of rebel-held areas. The peace talks have been planned to take place in Geneva, Switzerland, but the date is still up in the air.
The civil war is now over 2 1/2 years old and has fractured the country into several portions: those under Assad government control, those under Islamist militia, Kurdish-controlled territory and portions under more secular rebel forces. It did not help that the U.S. caved and backed down to Russian demands, embarrassing President Barack Obama who had drawn a “red line” of chemical weapons use. He threatened the use of American firepower, but instead cut a deal with the Russians to negotiate terms of chemical weapons disarmament.
Syria called the deal a “victory” for the country and Assad-led government.
Longtime American allies Israel and Saudi Arabia were deeply offended by Obama’s abandonment of support and have since collaborated on anti-Assad efforts.