Syrian President Bashar al-Assad could step down as part of a negotiated settlement to end the 17-month old conflict that has killed 18,000 people.
Deputy Prime Minister Qadri Jamil made the comments following talks with Russian officials in Moscow.
“Assad’s resignation as a condition before the start of dialogue would be impossible. But any issue can be discussed during the negotiations. We are even ready to discuss Assad’s resignation then,” said Jamil.
He warned that any foreign military intervention would likely to lead to clashes extending beyond Syria’s borders.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov reminded Washington that unilateral action would break international law. He said a military operation wouldn’t be tolerated by Moscow or Beijing.
French President Francois Hollande met with senior members of the opposition Syrian National Council in Paris on Tuesday.
Its leader Abdel Basset Sayda says the group is still studying the formation of a transitional government but that Assad “must leave, full stop.”