Fred Weir
May 21, 2013

Russia believes that its long-held vision of how to achieve peace in civil war-torn Syria has at last become possible due to a shifting balance of forces in the war and changing perceptions in the West, experts say.

In Russia’s view, peace would come through a negotiated settlement between the Bashar al-Assad regime and at least major elements of the anti-Assad rebels.

Newly assertive in advance of an upcoming peace conference to be jointly sponsored by the US and Russia, Moscow is insisting that rebel factions who come to the meeting must do so “without preconditions,” meaning no demands for Mr. Assad’s removal. It is also advocating that Syria’s main regional ally, Iran, should be included in the talks along with other players like Saudi Arabia.

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