Embattled Syrian dictator Bashar Assad’s key ally, Russian President Vladimir Putin, may be preparing to turn his back on the Syrian president.
According to the Al-Hayat pan-Arab newspaper in London, Russia has agreed to a long-standing demand of Syrian opposition forces that Assad be removed from power.
The report comes as negotiators representing Syrian rebels refused to consider even a transitional role for Assad in a proposed unity government.
Asaad al-Zoabi, one of the negotiators, insisted that "Assad should not remain for even one hour after the formation" of a transitional government.
The Al-Hayat report cites a diplomat in the UN Security Council who leaked the basic outline of the agreement.
While the US and Russia have agreed on the principle that Assad should be removed from power and sent into exile outside of Syria, no specifics regarding the implementation of the plan have been determined.
Earlier this month, Russia abruptly announced it would withdraw its military forces from Syria, much to the surprise of international observers.
On March 17th a senior Russian general told to Pravda newspaper that the pullout would be completed within days.