“For a period of time, all of the coalition was saying he [Bashar Assad] had to leave immediately, that was the original statement way back,” said the US secretary of state.
“We’ve changed that. Over a period of time we said no, that is not going to work. We need to have an orderly transition, managed transition so that you don’t have fearful retribution, loss of life, you don’t have a vacuum, you don’t have an implosion. All of these things are legitimate concerns.”
Meanwhile, the US has suspended pulling new recruits from the battlefield in Syria for training outside the country as the US military program to forge a force of moderate rebels is under review, Reuters quotes a Pentagon spokesman as saying on Tuesday.
"As we review the program, we have paused the actual movement of new recruits from Syria," said Peter Cook, the Pentagon spokesman. "We also continue to provide support for current forces on the ground and to train the cohorts currently in the program."
Some were killed or captured, and the whereabouts of 18 fighters in the first class are unknown, the agency quotes a US military spokesman as saying.
Some of the US-trained rebels handed over some of their equipment to Nusra last week in return for safe passage, in violation of program guidelines.