Group of Seven leaders believe a window of opportunity for a political deal in Syria may be opening up that would eventually see President Bashar al-Assad step down, giving way to a new coalition government, officials familiar with the discussions at a G7 summit in the Bavarian Alps said.

The officials cautioned that no breakthrough was imminent and that Russia would need to be on board, but noted that Assad appeared to be increasingly on the defensive after setbacks for his army.

“This could be the opportunity to get a political deal. We need Russia for this,” one of the sources said, adding that the only way for a transition would be for Assad to leave Syria.

Another G7 source said there was a feeling the situation in Syria could be on the verge of change, without giving details.

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