The Syrian government on Friday proposed a cease-fire with rebel forces in the city of Aleppo and said it was willing to exchange detainee lists with the opposition to pave the way for a possible prisoner exchange.
The proposals, which Walid al-Moallem, the Syrian foreign minister, said he had given to Russia, appeared to be an effort by the government to show good faith days before an international peace conference is to be convened in Switzerland aimed at ending Syria’s civil war.
It remains unclear who will attend the conference, set to open on Wednesday near Geneva. While the Syrian government has accepted the invitation, it has suggested that the conference’s goal should be fighting “terrorism.” The West is increasingly concerned about extremist militants in the insurgency and their potential to become a threat outside Syria, but the government uses terrorism to describe the entire rebel movement that seeks to topple President Bashar al-Assad, so such statements suggest an unwillingness to engage with any grievances against his rule. […]