PHOTO: Bashar al-Assad and Vladimir Putin in 2005

On Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin tried to save Russia’s diplomatic initiative over Syria, seeking high-level political talks that will keep President Assad in power as part of a “transitional government”. Putin said Assad could call early Parliamentary elections and engage in dialogue with an “honest opposition”.

So how much chance does the latest Russian move have of success? Not much, I told Monocle 24’s The Briefing on Friday afternoon.

We also discussed, in a week of media exaggerations and distortions, the alternative of Russian military support to maintain Assad’s rule.

And if this failed, we considered whether the only alternative to Assad is chaos and “extremism”.

Listen from 8:31: