Bashar al-Jaafari, Syrian chief negotiator and Ambassador of the Permanent Representative Mission of Syria to the United Nations speaks to journalists after the talks on Syria in Vienna on January 26, 2018.
/ AFP / ALEX HALADA
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Five Western and Arab states that have backed the rebellion against Syrian President Bashar Assad make no reference to his future in a document proposing changes to U.N.-led talks, an apparent recognition of his strong position in the conflict.Separately, the Syrian opposition delegation at U.N.-led peace talks in Vienna received a pledge Friday from Russia that it would press the Syrian army to enforce a cease-fire in the besieged enclave of Eastern Ghouta, opposition officials said.The Syrian government's negotiator at the Vienna talks dismissed the proposals as "totally unacceptable".Assad appears unassailable in the conflict thanks to direct military intervention by Iran and Russia, which is now seen as the pivotal foreign power in the war and is due to host a Syrian peace congress in Sochi next week.
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