“We maintain our belief that [President Bashar] Assad has lost all legitimacy and must go. There can never be a stable inclusive Syria under his leadership,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters Thursday.
The U.S. has called for Assad’s ouster since August 2011, but has stopped short of forcibly removing the embattled leader from power.
Russia, a staunch ally of the Syrian president, is set to host peace talks Jan. 26-29 in Moscow between the government and opposition, despite several high-profile opposition leaders’ refusal to join.
Psaki said that the U.S. welcomes “any effort to make progress toward addressing Syrians' core grievances and anything that would produce a sustainable solution to the conflict.”
Two previous rounds of peace talks in Geneva in 2014 failed to halt ongoing bloodshed.
At least in 2,000 people have died and millions have been displaced during the course of the nearly four-year civil war.