David Cameron, following US policy, is calling for Bashar al-Assad to take part in an transitional arrangement for a “moderate” regime in Syria.
Cameron has not, so he says, changed his view that Assad must to, or that he should be tried for war crimes. But there has been a policy shift.
At the UN General Assembly Russia and the United States agreed to look for a diplomatic end to the Syrian civil war. How long or whether Assad remains in power is the dividing line between the two powers.
Meanwhile there has been a recent influx of Russian support to Assad. While Russia insists this is part of their fight against Daesh and is in broad agreement with the US, France and other allies which are conducting air strikes, Russian tanks and warplanes bolster the regime (as well as strengthening Russia’s only Mediterranean naval base, at Tartus).
Following their meeting at the UN, Putin declared, “We are mulling over what we would really do extra in order to support those who are in the battlefield, resisting and fighting with terrorists, ISIS (Islamic State) first of all.”
Obama and Putin both addressed the UN General Assembly/ with Obama emphasising a willingness to cooperate with Russia and Iran to try to end the civil war.
In contrast, Putin focused on Daesh and called for a broader coalition against Daesh that would cooperate with Assad. Russia, Iran and Hezbollah are the key backers of Assad.
Putin said, “We think it is an enormous mistake to refuse to cooperate with the Syrian government and its armed forces who are valiantly fighting terrorism face-to-face.
“We should finally acknowledge that no one but President Assad’s armed forces and (Kurdish) militia are truly fighting the Islamic State…”
Yjr US reportedly believe that Putin’s build-up of Russian forces in Syria reflects a fear that Assad’s grip is weakening.