Administration of U.S. President Donald Trump is prepared to accept the continuation of Syrian President Bashar Assad's rule until the country's next presidential election, set for 2021, The New Yorker newspaper reported, citing unnamed U.S. and EU officials.
Such a stance is in odds with previously repeated statement by Washington, which has been supporting the militant groups in Syria, that Assad should step down as part of Syria’s crisis settlement.
The newspaper said, that after over six years of the conflict Damascus has regained control over the majority of territories previously seized by opposition or militants. The outlet also noted, that in the peace process, the United States had been marginalized by Russia, Iran, and Turkey, which had also initiated Syrian settlement negotiations.
Taking into consideration political and military realities, U.S. officials have decided that transition of political power in Syria would depend on elections in the country, held under the UN auspices, the newspaper continued. However, in Syria, devastated by the war, holding such a vote would be a challenge, according to diplomats, cited by the outlet. Also, new and credible opposition will need time to emerge.
The newspaper added that depending on the results of the next U.S. presidential election in 2020, Assad might still be in power, when Trump leaves office.