Syria’s government is ready to call for a ceasefire in a war it feels neither side can win, Deputy Prime Minister Qadri Jamil said in an interview with The Guardian on Thursday. “Neither the armed opposition nor the regime is capable of defeating the other side,” The distinctly war-weary-sounding leader told the paper. “This zero balance of forces will not change for a while.” But an old sticking point remains: Rebel leaders insist President Bashar al-Assad must resign before they’ll accept such a deal, and Assad’s government says he won’t do so. Still, according to The Guardian, at least one main rebel group is open to a meeting after similar negotiations last year failed.
The Western-backed Syrian National Coalition “cautiously accept[ed] Geneva Two as a means of breaking an entrenched stalemate,” but “insists that Assad’s resignation remains non-negotiable.” Jamil, meanwhile, tried to make the case that things were different, even though Assad remains in power: “Let nobody have any fear that the regime in its present form will continue. For all practical purposes the regime in its previous form has ended. In order to realize our progressive reforms we need the West and all those who are involved in Syria to get off our shoulders.”