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Russia Says Syria Rejects New Constitution Diluting Assad Powers

  • Kremlin can’t impose solution in Syria, senior adviser says
  • Syria opposition says Assad defying Putin on political reform
Syrian soldiers walk past a portrait of President Bashar al-Assad during a government celebration marking the first anniversary of the retaking of the northern Syrian city of Aleppo on Dec. 21, 2017.

Syrian soldiers walk past a portrait of President Bashar al-Assad during a government celebration marking the first anniversary of the retaking of the northern Syrian city of Aleppo on Dec. 21, 2017.

Photographer: George Ourfalian/AFP via Getty Images

Syria won’t accept a Russian plan for a new constitution that would dilute the powers of President Bashar al-Assad, in a setback for Kremlin efforts to negotiate an end to the seven-year civil war.

“I don’t see any possibilities for making the draft proposed by Russia as a basis for this constitutional process,” Vitaly Naumkin, a senior Russian government adviser, told a round-table hosted by the Valdai discussion group in Moscow on Monday. “We’re not trying to impose this on the Syrians -- this is unacceptable to them, both for the opposition and Damascus.”