The chances of a peaceful resolution to the Syrian crisis have increased after the country's main opposition leader Ahmed Moaz al-Khatib made a surprise offer of talks to the government recently. It is now up to the international community to seize the opportunity and step up diplomatic efforts to hold negotiations between the two sides in Syria to restore peace in the country as early as possible.
On Feb. 5, al-Khatib reiterated that he was ready for talks with President Bashar al-Assad's government provided it released 160,000 detainees. This is a comedown in the opposition's stance because in the past it had demanded nothing less than Assad's resignation as a precondition for talks.
Two factors may have prompted the opposition to change its stance: the setbacks it has suffered recently against government troops amid dwindling military support from foreign countries, and the circumspection with which the West now sees the faction-ridden opposition.
Nevertheless, the change in the opposition's stance has rekindled hopes of an end to the bloodshed in the country, where violence has continued for almost two years.
While it is essential that a united Syrian opposition seek talks, it is equally important that the international community honor the principles and objectives set forth in the Geneva communique, issued by the Action Group for Syria in June 2012, to resolve the crisis. A resolution that has the support of the majority of Syrians will achieve solid results.
China Daily, Beijing