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Syria's temporary solution

As preparations for the Geneva II Syria conference stall, some suggest that a temporary solution could be in the works, aimed at keeping President Bashar al-Assad in office, but without elections.
Syria's President Bashar al-Assad answers journalists after a meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris, December 9, 2010. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier (FRANCE - Tags: POLITICS) - RTXVKF9

A senior Lebanese official who is involved in the Lebanese-Syrian file, the ongoing discussions on holding the Geneva II Conference, and the possibility of Beirut being invited to attend, told Al-Monitor that it is obvious that the concerned international powers are inclined to delay the conference date and wait, in order to accomplish a number of preliminary goals. He explained that the major powers involved in the Syrian events clearly agree on not rushing to hold the conference.

With regard to the Syrian authorities, it is clear that it is to their advantage to save additional time before they sit down at the negotiating table. The authorities are taking the opportunity to invest in this time militarily by expanding their control on the ground. It is worth noting that in the coming period, there are two prospects for the Syrian regime army at this level: The first is a battle for Qalamoun, northwest of Damascus, which would close the Syrian armed opposition’s last hold on the Lebanese border. The second would be a battle to corner the insurgents in Aleppo, after the Syrian army gained control over the town of Safira a few days ago. The latter is considered a strategic point in advancing toward the second-largest Syrian city.

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