Russia submits new plan for Syria to US

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MOSCOW: Russia has submitted a new plan concerning the Syrian crisis to the U.S., Russian news agency TASS quoted Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov as saying in an interview with the Moskovsky Komsomolets daily on Tuesday.

The new Russian proposal apparently does not include the removal of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

“Without disclosing details, I will note that unlike those colleagues — American as well — who constantly simply urge an immediate declaration of cease-fire, to which, first of all, U.S. allies in the region object, insisting that this can be discussed only when it becomes clear that Bashar Assad steps down. We have suggested an absolutely concrete scheme in contacts with Washington,” TASS quoted Lavrov as saying.

He reportedly said he hoped that “the very simple proposals” will not take too long “for Washington to consider”.

Last week, the UN-led peace talks in Geneva between the Syrian regime and the opposition were suspended, after Russia and the Assad regime stepped up their military strikes near Aleppo.

The government’s supporters, chiefly Russia and Iran, have so far called for Assad to be part of the transition process.

While the U.S. once adopted a strong “Syria without Assad” stance, this proposal has appeared to take a backseat as it focuses on fighting ISIL.

Turkey, which has taken in a large number of Syrian refugees, is deeply opposed to Assad remaining in power and finding his regime responsible for the deaths of thousands of Syrians.

More than 250,000 people have been killed and more than 11 million displaced in Syria’s five-year civil war, according to the UN.

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