Assad needs to be held accountable for the violence and crimes against humanity, though nobody needs a protracted war where even more people die needlessly. The current rumors suggest Putin recognizes that Assad may have a limited future, so it open to finding a resolution. More from The Guardian:
Britain and America are willing to offer the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, safe passage – and even clemency – as part of a diplomatic push to convene a UN-sponsored conference in Geneva on political transition in Syria.In light of the Syrian air force defection today, time may be running out for Assad and his options.
The initiative comes after David Cameron and Barack Obama received encouragement from Russia's President Vladimir Putin in separate bilateral talks at the G20 in Mexico.
A senior British official said: "Those of us who had bilaterals thought there was just enough out of those meetings to make it worth pursuing the objective of negotiating a transitional process in Syria."