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Russia: Try again on Syria talks, Assad might be willing to go

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"Since early summer, after Kofi Annan resigned and everyone said diplomacy has run its course, Russia has maintained a low profile," he says. "But now Russia is reviving its efforts. It's become clear that the Syrian opposition cannot win. However weak Assad is, his regime is still strong and capable....  So, now, Russia is back and saying we might try again at looking for a peaceful settlement."

At last weekend's Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit, Russian President Vladimir Putin tried to convince US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to revisit the Geneva plan, and she appeared to rebuff him.

"We have to be realistic. We haven't seen eye-to-eye [with the Russians] on Syria," Ms. Clinton told journalists at APEC. "That may continue. And if it does continue then we will work with like-minded states to support the Syrian opposition to hasten the day when Assad falls."

Moscow officially maintains that the Assad regime is too strong to overthrow, as evidenced by recent successes of the Syrian military, experts say. They also argue that, despite all the official talk of helping the rebels, there is no appetite in the West for Libya-style intervention in Syria, and that the Western public is increasingly aware of the participation of foreign jihadists and al-Qaeda linked forces among the Syrian opposition.

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