Qadri Jamil, Syria’s deputy prime minister for economic affairs, said that Syria was ready to discuss the resignation of President Bashar al-Assad as part of a negotiated settlement to end 17 months of bloodshed.
"As far as his resignation goes--making the resignation itself a condition for holding dialogue means that you will never be able to reach this dialogue," Qadri Jamil said after after a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Moscow .
However, he added: "Any problems can be discussed during negotiations. We are even ready to discuss this issue."
It is the first time that a member of the Syrian regime has publicly referred to the possibility that Assad could step down from power, Israeli website Ynet News said.
For his part, Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov said that the Syrian minister had confirmed that his government was committed to a peaceful political transition brokered by the U.N.
Lavrov repeated Russia's insistence that, the Syrian conflict should be resolved without international interference. Russia and China have repeatedly blocked resolutions on Syria at the U.N.Security Council.
The surprise comments come just one day after U.S. President implicitly threatened to launch a military attack if the Syrian regime moved chemical or biological weapons or used it against the rebels.
"We have been very clear to the Assad regime, but also to other players on the ground, that a red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized," Obama said. “That would change my calculus; that would change my equation," he added.
In Washington, the U.S. Department of State expressed its greatest skepticism about the possible discussions on the resignation of the Syrian president.
"We have seen information about this declaration by the Syrian Deputy Prime Minister. Frankly, we did not see anything terribly new," said the spokeswoman Victoria Nuland.
Responding to Syria's Deputy Prime Minister statement, the president of opposition Syrian National Council (SNC), Abdel Basset Sayda said that they are studying the formation of a "transitional government," which will be open to all segments of Syrian society, including the Alawite community which backs Bashar Assad. However, he stressed there will be no discussion with Assad himself.
Furthermore, Burhan Ghalioun, a senior member of the Syrian opposition rejected the proposal concerning Asad's resignation by Syria’s Deputy Prime Minister.
Ghalioun labeled Assad as a “criminal" adding,“There is no room to negotiate with a criminal."
On the ground, at least 198 people were killed nationwide on Tuesday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said, reporting relentless shelling and fighting across swaths of the main battleground of Aleppo and many deaths in a bloody raid on a Damascus suburb.
Moreover, AFP news reported that the U.S.-financed Arab TV channel al-Hurra announced that two of its reporters had gone missing in city of Aleppo.
"Contact with reporters Bashar Fahmi and cameraman Cuneyt Unal were lost yesterday," al-Hurra TV said in a statment.
It is weird that Russia did not comment on these news despite its importance. Of course, I can say that even though the various media links connected Obama's declarations and Assad's resignation proposal, I still think it is a political trick by the Syrian regime hoping to gain more time in a political game.
Another point worth to mention, some media sources close to Assad announced that they do not mind being there a separate state for Alawites, adding that Assad would not be as powerful as being a president for Syria makes him.
For your information, Assad's family is counted as a small family compared to other Alawites families in Syria, therefore I think more killing and massacres will occur in the coming days, because Assad knows very well that as soon as he quits his position, he will be killed.