The New York Times quotes Frederic C. Hof, senior fellow for the Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East, on the decision to resume nonlethal aid to Syrian rebel groups:

Opposition groups are scheduled to meet on Jan. 17 to decide whether to attend the conference. But the meeting’s stated goal — to chart a political transition in Syria — seems more elusive than ever, given the recent military gains made by Mr. Assad’s forces.

“The larger questions are: What is the strategy for making the conference itself successful? And how do the meetings in Switzerland serve an overall strategy for Syria?” said Frederic C. Hof, a former State Department official who has worked on political transition in Syria.

“Just getting people to sit down and talk is too low a bar for success,” said Mr. Hof, who is now a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. “It’s almost subterranean.”

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