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Earlier this week, Khaled Khoja, the new head of the Syria opposition in exile, rejected a Russian proposal to attend talks in Moscow to end the Syrian conflict.There has been confusion over precisely what Moscow wants for Syria. We know the Russians seek to hold meetings in Moscow with members of the Syrian regime and opposition groups, who presumably, when the time is right, would then talk with each other. The idea of a transitional government, no matter how logical it may seem given Syria's realities, implicitly suggests a move away from Assad.Once that happens, the Russians would be in a better position to bring the exiled opposition, along with the so-called internal opposition, together with the regime in a resolution project, giving Assad new legitimacy.In that way, as circumstances change and the international community decides to move resolutely toward a peace plan for Syria, the Russians will be better placed to put their favored plan forward, perhaps in coordination with the U.N.The Russians apparently understand something the Obama administration doesn't: that for any anti-ISIS campaign to be successful, the Syrian conflict must be brought to an end.
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