Give Peace Talks a Chance

Kerry's Plan to End the War in Syria

Children hang from the barrel of a tank,2012. (Ahmed Jadallah / Courtesy Reuters)

In “Settling Syria,” we argued that the conflict in Syria would likely end in a negotiated settlement. The only question was when. It was thus not too surprising when, earlier this month, John Kerry, the U.S. secretary of state, and Sergei Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, proposed holding an international conference with leaders from both sides of the conflict who would come together to form a transitional power-sharing government. That government, they hinted, could possibly include Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Leaders from both the Syrian government and the opposition have responded with ambivalence. Assad has affirmed that he will not step down -- a precondition to talks for some opposition groups -- and that he is skeptical about the initiative’s chances for success, given the divisions within the opposition. Presumably, he is also reluctant to sit

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