‘As­sad can’t rule if there is to be peace’

The Star Early Edition - - WORLD -

GER­MANY says it doesn’t be­lieve Bashar As­sad (pic­tured) can con­tinue as Syria’s leader un­der a fu­ture peace agree­ment.

For­eign Min­istry spokesman Martin Schae­fer says that As­sad’s forces cap­tur­ing east­ern Aleppo and other parts of north­ern Syria “strength­ens the regime” and its hand in po­lit­i­cal ne­go­ti­a­tions.

But Schae­fer said in Ber­lin yes­ter­day that Ger­many’s as­sess­ment that “As­sad can’t play a per­ma­nent role in a peace­ful fu­ture for Syria” hasn’t changed now that his forces are blamed for 300 000 deaths in the sixyear war.

Schae­fer said op­po­si­tion groups wouldn’t ac­cept any deal to form a tran­si­tional govern­ment un­less As­sad’s pow­ers were sharply cur­tailed.

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