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Kerry Concedes The U.S. Is Prepared To Negotiate With Syria's Bashar Al-Assad

"We have to negotiate in the end," Secretary of State John Kerry said on CBS on Sunday.

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Secretary of State John Kerry said Sunday that the U.S. is prepared to negotiate with Syria's embattled leader, Bashar al-Assad, in a bid to halt four years of deadly civil war.

"We have to negotiate in the end," Kerry said during an interview on the CBS program Face The Nation. "What we're pushing for is to get [Assad] to come and do that, and it may require that there be increased pressure on him of various kinds in order to do that.

"We've made it very clear to people that we are looking at increased steps that can help bring about that pressure."

Speaking from the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, the top U.S. diplomat did not elaborate on what pressure Washington is considering in an effort to bring the Syrian president to the negotiating table.

"To get the Assad regime to negotiate, we're going to have to make it clear to him that there is a determination by everybody to seek that political outcome and change his calculation about negotiating," Kerry said.

"That's under way right now. And I am convinced that, with the efforts of our allies and others, there will be increased pressure on Assad."

More than 200,000 people have been killed in the Syrian conflict since Kerry and Assad last met in Damascus in 2010.

Hardline Islamist militant groups such as ISIS have also emerged from the chaos in Syria, prompting the U.S. to spearhead an international military effort to launch airstrikes against the group.

Assad's government has distanced itself from the anti-ISIS coalition, telling the BBC last month that he objected to Washington's support of moderate anti-government rebels in Syria.

U.S.-led talks on Syria in Geneva last year ultimately collapsed.

David Mack is a reporter and weekend editor for BuzzFeed News in New York.

Contact David Mack at david.mack@buzzfeed.com.

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