Russia has always insisted it is not “wedded” to the idea of Mr Assad staying in power, only to preserving the Syrian state.
This has repeatedly led to hopes that President Vladimir Putin is open to a deal under which Mr Assad would be replaced but Russian interests in the country, including a naval base on the Mediterranean, would be honoured.
Mr Assad last week said he was determined to try to regain control over all the country - something that looks remote but less so since Russia’s air campaign forced the non-Islamic State rebels into retreat across much of the north.
His words were seen as rejecting a ceasefire that had been negotiated between the United States, Russia and regional powers.
Nearly two and a half million children forced to become refugees.More than seven million forced to flee Syria including the hundreds of thousands in Europe.This week has brought a glimmer of hope, with news that Russia will pull its forces out of Syria and renewed peace talks, but such is the damage that even when the guns stop firing it will take years for Syria to return to what it was and develop its potential further.Syrian Americans are Americans of Syrian descent or background.Syrian Americans may be members of a number of differing ethnicities, including Arabs, Armenians, Arameans, Assyrians, Syrian Jews, Kurds, Syrian Turkmens and Circassians.