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    Washington Softening Stance on Assad’s Role in Syria – Former CIA Officer

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    The United States appears to gradually back away from its hardline stance on President Bashar Assad’s role in the Syrian future after Islamic State threat added urgency to the task of finding a solution to the Syrian crisis, a former CIA officer told Sputnik on Wednesday.

    GENEVA (Sputnik), Anastasia Levchenko — Germany and Britain have recently softened their position on Assad’s involvement, saying he could be helpful when it comes to forming a transition government in the country that has seen four and a half years of bloodshed.

    "There are preliminary signs that the White House has been forced to recognize the futility of continued insistence that Assad 'has to go' before significant steps can be taken to resolve the crisis," former CIA officer Raymond McGovern said.

    Washington’s precondition for engaging with Syrian authorities has been that Assad should step down, while Russia has insisted that all nations need to work closer together with the Assad government and his army, who have been fighting against ISIL on the ground all this time.

    "Russia's recent moves can help facilitate a negotiated solution, if Washington abandons that precondition and agrees to take part in talks among the countries seriously interested in stopping ISIS," McGovern said, adding that Washington and most of Syria’s neighbor countries now shared the priority objective of stopping ISIL advance "before it is too late."

    On Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin urged to create a broader UN-mandated coalition with all Muslim states to roll back ISIL. A US-backed coalition has been fighting ISIL insurgency in the region since August 2014. The United States and France have been targeting extremists in Syria without a permit from Damascus.


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