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Syria: is this the beginning of the end? A UN-US-Russia negotiation trio, without the EU?

(BRUSSELS2) “Assad’s days are numbered”. This is the phrase used by Barbara Nuland, the spokesperson for the State Department in Washington during her daily press briefing on Thursday (December 13). “ We see that the opposition is making significant gains on the ground. The opposition, in recent days and weeks, has made a number of significant captures, in particular, a major military installation outside Aleppo, the large Sheikh Suleiman base, and other important military installations. The regime is doing in its desperate efforts to prevent the inevitable. (…) The fighting continues, in Damascus, in Aleppo. But it is clear that the regime's efforts to militarily defeat the opposition are clearly not enough ". Such a speech might seem obvious coming from the United States which has condemned Assad. But – this is new – it is now relayed in Moscow. No doubt a result of the last NATO-Russia meeting a few days ago in Brussels – even if nothing had transpired at the time.

Moscow wants to face reality: the opposition is gaining ground

« We must face reality. According to the current trend, the regime and the government in Syria are increasingly losing control of the national territory. The victory of the Syrian opposition cannot unfortunately be ruled out. admitted Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov on Thursday during a meeting of the Council for International Cooperation according to the Ria Novosti agency. The Syrian opponents affirm that victory is close (…) and that they already control 60% of the country’s territory”, he added.

A trio of UN-US-Russia negotiators

A movement observed with warmth in Washington. Barbara Nuland thus called Russians " to work with us » to facilitate a political transition. For this purpose, she proposed using the “Brahimi-Burns-Bogdanov” trio, thus referring to the UN special envoy, the American deputy secretary of state and his Russian counterpart. The Russians can already stop their aid to the regime – she added – but also “ help us identify people who might be willing inside Syria to work on a transition structure”.

Note that the European Union seems excluded from this approach

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).