2027 GMT: Closer to a Diplomatic Solution? Long-time readers will know that we've never been confident that a political settlement to this crisis was possible. However, it does appear that such a solution has never stood a better chance than it does today. As one reader suggested to me on Twitter, the SANA response to John Kerry's saber-rattling was "not very strong, leaving a breathing space" in which negotiations could take place. In fact, the same reader reminds us that Moaz al Khatbib's first demand has been met today, an extension of foreign passports, potentially signifying that the regime is clearing the way to have some dialogue with the opposition:
State news agency SANA said the Ministry of Interior extended the validity of Syrian passports to 10 years from six and that all expired passports for Syrian nationals abroad would be renewed for two years.
Syrian expatriates are unable to travel on expired passports and many Syrians abroad complain they have faced problems in renewing or getting residency visas for out-of-date documents.
Moaz al-Khatib, head of the opposition Syrian National Coalition, said he would speak to Assad's representatives if expired passports were extended for two years. He also demanded 160,000 prisoners be released prior to talks.