In its search for a viable solution to end the conflict in Syria, the United States is no longer insisting upon the ouster of President Bashar al-Assad, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson indicated Thursday.

Tillerson’s position represents a 180-degree change from that of the Obama administration, which since 2011 had insisted any plan for Syria’s future exclude Assad.

Tillerson, at a meeting with Turkish officials and in response to a direct question about Assad’s fate, said times have changed.

“I think the status and the longer-term status of President Assad will be decided by the Syrian people,” Tillerson said.

On Thursday, Tillerson was asked about the ability of the U.S. and Turkey to “overcome your differences … and … move forward concretely in Syria in the fight to retake Raqqa.”

Tillerson said the U.S. and Turkey are allies.

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