Syria is marks the fifth anniversary of protests along with a recently established ceasefire. Meanwhile, its moderate opposition has claimed that Bashar Assad must leave his post.
Syria's conflicting sides still cannot agree on Bashar Assad’s fate. On Saturday, the government said his resignation would be considered as a "red line" in the process of peace talks. The opposition refused to accept this idea, saying Assad must go anyway. On Monday, they plan to start the U.N.-brokered talks in Geneva. Many activists are sure that this will be the final attempt to solve Syrian five-year conflict, which has taken more than 270,000 lives.
However, it’s still unknown whether the new talks will be more successful than the February ones, since the parties cannot reach any common ground in order to decide the president's fate. Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem noted that the government had no intentions to discuss Assad’s future, which is a red line. The HNC has required Assad's resignation, considering this step to be a necessary condition for any future agreement. The UN’s peace envoy Staffan de Mistura said that “the talks cannot be held in case the leader of the current regime stays in power."
The future talks are planned to discuss principles of creation of a new government and a constitution, as well as ways of carrying out elections within 18 months.