"There is a range of ancillary issues that presumably could be discussed. From the point of view of Moscow, these ancillary issues—like a cease-fire, discussions about Syrian territorial integrity, sovereignty, and so forth—are the central issues. Moscow does not want the discussion to get very deeply into political transition, because it's that discussion and subject that puts its client somewhat at a disadvantage," Frederick C. Hof says in a CFR interview.
"Rebel fighters are committed to a military victory. A large majority believe they should keep fighting until Assad is defeated rather than negotiate, and most consider absolute victory their top priority among foreseeable options. Our data suggest that the most important reason that they are fighting is to take revenge against Assad and his forces. The fighters we interviewed are neither mercenaries nor conscripts but committed volunteers on a mission to defeat Assad and to exact revenge on his supporters. The very idea of negotiations contradicts their primary reason for fighting," write Vera Miranova and Sam Whitt in the Baltimore Sun.
"The Syrian revolutionary forces, not the regime, are fighting Al-Qaeda, while the same forces are fighting the regime on a second front. A cease-fire in Aleppo would, therefore, not only be a blessing for the battered population, but it would also open at last the possibility for consolidating a zone liberated from Al-Qaeda. If this cease-fire holds, with the international monitoring that this requires, a local version of the TGA [transitional governing authority] could even be established to run the city. Aleppo would then become a laboratory for a bolder and wider political transition in post-conflict Syria," writes Jean-Pierre Filiu for al-Jazeera.