"We are ready to negotiate everything. When you talk about negotiation regarding whether to end the conflict in Syria or talking about the future of Syria, anything, it’s fully open, there’s no limit for that negotiations," Assad said in a statement to the French media posted on the Syrian presidency's website.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan discussed in a December 17 phone call the possibility of a meeting in Kazakhstan's capital Astana between the parties to the Syrian conflict. Russia, Iran and Turkey would serve as potential mediators. Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev supported this initiative and expressed readiness to provide a platform for intra-Syrian talks in Astana.