With the ongoing civil war in Syria causing a serious refugee influx to neighboring countries as well as to the European Union, diplomats from 17 countries, plus the U.N., European Union and representatives from the Arab League finalized the third round of talks in Vienna on Saturday. Speaking to Daily Sabah, diplomatic sources said all sides agree on Turkey's political solution proposal for Syria and indicated that Turkey is the "mastermind" behind the agreement reached in Vienna.
At a press briefing shortly after talks in Vienna, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said a transitional government for Syria will be set up in six months and the country will hold elections in 18 months. Sources asserted that Assad might not stay in his post for six months and that Turkey's policies on Syria had gained confidence from the diplomats in reaching a final agreement. Additionally, speaking to the media, U.K. Foreign Minister Philip Hammond said that the recently held talks in Vienna were productive and that the process toward peace is gaining momentum for the Syrian people.Russian President Vladimir Putin called President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to congratulate him on the Nov. 1 election results and said that Russia is open for dialogue on Assad's future. In response to Putin's remarks to Erdoğan, following the talks on Saturday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said the Syrian government had already put forward its representatives, with the U.N. special envoy for Syria, Staffan de Mistura, to begin immediate work on determining who should sit at the table as part of the opposition team.
The Assad regime has killed more than 250,000 civilians and displacing nearly 10 million people over four years.