Russia Says Syria Rejects New Constitution Diluting Assad Powers

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.”