CNN quotes Rafik Hariri Center Resident Senior Fellow Frederic C. Hof on why ending the bombing against the Syrian people needs to be the first step in ending the conflict:

Russia, for its part, is now agreeing to the drafting of a new constitution and new elections, a position that has evolved over the last few months.

But Fred Hof, a former top U.S. diplomat handling Syria now at the Atlantic Council, warned that regardless of Assad’s fate, until Russia and Iran are willing to press him to stop bombing the Syrian people, there is little hope the political process will yield any results and that the bloodshed will end.

“Stopping the mass murder is a good place to start,” he said. “How the hell do you sit down for a peace process featuring compromise when one of the parties doesn’t accept the rules of the game and the other party’s constituency is being blown away on a daily basis?”

He continued, “The first symptom of Assad being under control would be an end to the collective punishment and mass homicide and only then would the Syrian people truly have a chance to decide their fate.”

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