According to Brookings Institution security expert Michael O'Hanlon, a Syrian peace agreement could be more than a year away, considering the current battlefield dynamics.
O'Hanlon proposed a scheme that would see Syria turn into a confederation in which the armed opposition is strengthened alongside the Syrian government. He added that in his view, the United States should more actively sponsor what he called the fragmented moderate opposition for this to happen.
"If we keep at the Vienna talks the way that they've been going so far, I think [US President Barack] Obama will just be totally frustrated and nothing good will happen, and we'll waste the whole year," O'Hanlon told Radio Sputnik.
O'Hanlon added that for his plan to work, which envisions autonomous areas across rebel-controlled Syria and President Bashar al-Assad staying in power in majority Alawite areas, all countries would have to agree and offer it as a single negotiated plan.
He added that while both Russia and the US support Kurdish autonomy, both must promise to avoid bringing up Kurdish independence to placate the Turkish side in the talks. Kurds have so far been excluded from the peace talks.