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U.S. sees Assad staying in Syria until March 2017

An internal timeline prepared for U.S. officials dealing with the Syria crisis sets an unspecified date in March 2017 for Assad to “relinquish” his position as president and for his “inner circle” to depart. That would be more than five years after Obama first called for Assad to leave.

The State Department said Wednesday the timeline was prepared late last year as a guide for Secretary of State John Kerry and other U.S. diplomats working on a political transition for Syria.

Spokesman John Kirby described the document as a “staff-level think piece” that is “preliminary and pre-decisional” and not “an official position.” He also said it is “not an accurate projection of plans by the international community to effect a political transition in Syria.”

However, many of the milestones mentioned in the document comport with the basics of the U.N.-endorsed plan and other officials said they were an accurate reflection of the administration’s thinking. One official, who like the others spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the private document, said the goal for Assad to leave in March 2017 might slip even further.

According to the timeline, Syria would hold elections for a new president and parliament in August 2017 — some 19 months from now. In the interim, Syria would be run by a transitional governing body.

Despre Claudiu Degeratu
Expert in securitate nationala, internationala, NATO, UE, aparare si studii strategice

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