(DAMASCUS, Syria) — When United Nations envoy Lakhdar Brahimi spoke with President Bashar al-Assad earlier this week, the embattled Syrian leader must have listened carefully to Brahimi’s proposals for ending the 21-month conflict.
It was revealed on Wednesday that al-Assad has since dispatched a senior diplomat to talk over Brahimi’s ideas with officials in Moscow, one of Syria’s few remaining allies.
Syrian and Lebanese sources did not have details about what Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Makdad will discuss with the Russians but it’s believed it will deal with arriving at a negotiated settlement with rebel forces who could be close to toppling al-Assad’s government.
The meeting between Makdad and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and special envoy Mikhail Bogdanov is expected to take place on Thursday.
Russia has provided al-Assad with military assistance throughout the conflict that has cost 45,000 lives. However, Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that protecting al-Assad will not come any “any price” and refuses to grant his ally asylum.
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Sarah Anderson, Deseret News
Ray Sanchez, CNN
Michael Pearson, Faith Karimi and Ian Lee, CNN
Faith Karimi and Chuck Johnston, CNN