Amid Approaching Peace Conference, Syria Proposes Cease Fire

Government officials announce plan following meeting in Moscow with Russian counterparts.
3:00 | 01/17/14

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Transcript for Amid Approaching Peace Conference, Syria Proposes Cease Fire
This is a special room. A Democrat put anywhere with this ABC news digital special report on the development emerging from Syria's civil war Syria's foreign minister in Moscow today proposing. A cease fire. In a -- of Syria's largest city and the target of much of the fighting there. Watching it all is ABC news Middle East correspondent -- mark court joining us now from Scott via Skype. From Beirut Lebanon. -- bring us up what's happening on this development. Welcome once again all this was a two part proposal. -- -- by while meanwhile -- who's the Syrian foreign minister he was in Moscow today. Visiting with his counterpart -- during a press conference -- -- -- meeting. He said that he would he would -- in the -- -- the Russians -- are really won the Syrians biggest allies. A proposal that would include. -- -- cease fire for a low -- specifically which as you noted has. -- born the brunt of some of the worst fighting in this. -- -- almost three year war and the second part would be a prisoner exchange in which somebody edited prisoners that the government is holding will be exchanged for prisoners that they -- had been kidnapped to use their language. By the rebel groups -- that was into our proposal that Wallin and games -- his counterpart Le Brock and. -- to -- -- -- placed a relationship a little bit more between Russia and Syria because obviously Russia plays a very key role. In dispelling any of the infighting -- happening in Syria. Absolutely so the Russians have been the biggest surrogates for Syria on the international stage. Syria's staunchest allies including Iran China. And -- are really about Russia really has been. Their surrogate their ago ensued there they're represented him when there are dealing with international bodies like the UN nor beer you know the peace conferences. That -- have been taken place and then will we take place. I'm next week it'd really has been the Russians and -- and interfacing. When the Americans on the opposite side in terms of trying to find -- resolution for this three year war any time. That the meetings -- -- the foreign minister level it is usually between Sergey Lavrov on the Russian side and John Kerry on the Americans. Let me ask you this and out given the fact that Syria has obviously -- -- kind of step forward -- -- the chances of those anti government fighters. To even consider this proposal. -- You look at it in those two parts in the prisoner exchange -- the cease fire you could get two different answers. These fighting opposition the rebel fighters are extraordinarily. Fragments in -- hundreds more than a thousand different. Fighting groups so be government works who approached. One group but it timer cluster groups and say we want exchanged prisoners for your prisoners. That -- could happen here if you look at the cease fire. The likelihood of that happening in the city as big as a low blow. Where there aren't many fighting groups as there aren't allowed -- -- frankly quite unlikely. It's impossible there's no coalition among the fighting groups there's nobody that can -- -- -- negotiate with the Syrian governments and OK we will. Lay down our weapons. There's certainly no trust on the rebel side of the government to lay down their weapons incidences are not violated cease fire so the chances of of them being -- to pull off this cease fire in a genuine and comprehensive way. It's very very well. Given those two major components for this this type of a proposal being put forth how different that is -- from pass attempts at a cease fire. You're right over the course of the past three years there have been cease fires that had been put in place but he never really last that long a couple hours maybe a couple days. They would eventually fall apart when when the rebel groups accuse the government of violating the terms. The government -- citizens and about the rebel groups and so this -- -- wouldn't collapse and and they were -- -- -- each other. -- talked a little bit about the timing of this proposal in -- we have a picture. Of those two leaders I have when they made those exchanges this morning. On the right you can see Russian foreign minister -- Lavrov. And on his Syrian counterpart to the left -- a mall on that it was in Moscow this morning. But is far is the timing. Is there any kind of a coincidence. Not at all in fact a week from today. The -- conference that everyone is calling Geneva to. Is supposed to take place yes it's actually not to take place in Geneva it's gonna take place a little bit farther down Lake Geneva -- -- -- almost -- It's the second iteration of -- conference that that's bringing together. Syria's allies and and and -- their allies about the opposition to trying. How shouted deal so we know that this conference is coming for a long time we've -- for the last few weeks -- specific date. Over the course of the past few weeks we've seen both sides in this Syrian conflict trying to position themselves -- -- that. And and they wouldn't sort of gain the upper hand or at least be in the best position possible. Oh win this conference didn't come about Sony's CEO Wally -- putting forward this proposal today certainly. Meant sued -- to make his government's pure and good life. For that Geneva to convention will there be any representation. Either in a very literal sense by actual delegates -- representatives of the anti government groups there. Or from other countries that support that kind of cause will they be in attendance. In Geneva not in Geneva but at the at the talks. We don't know that yet we hope to get an answer today the Syrian national coalition which is the main opposition bodies. On the political side is getting together in Istanbul Turkey. Some -- there has been staunch opposition among the political opposition to going to any sort of conference. Where there isn't the precondition that president Assad will step down among many of -- 120 members of this coalition. Their most important item is that president decides that down. And many people want to attend the conference without precondition the -- on the regime's side. They're saying there shouldn't be any sort of pre conditions at this conference frankly -- -- as we speak right now we don't know whether the opposition. Will be attending. But at the end of the day you have to remember that even as the political opposition agrees to certain terms that -- they go to Geneva or go to Switzerland in. Come out with wins certain agreements that doesn't necessarily mean -- they're going to be implemented because there is very little relationship between the political opposition. And military opposition on the ground actually doing the fighting fighters themselves have repeatedly rejected. That that political opposition so when we talk about fractured opposition its not just on the political side is not just on the military side it's really everywhere in the bodies are really talking to reach -- -- -- the US and all of us where secretary of state John Kerry I know he's been vocal about the company has been happening in Syria. But as far as any kind of a commitment whether -- financial whether it be military. Well this is has been one of his biggest projects. Certainly in the region since he he came on aside from trying to strike a deal between the Israelis. And the Palestinians and he came out very vocal. The indeed. In the political opposition in Syria and -- -- -- in -- outside Syria. To attend that the conference tomorrow and of course the -- that they can use. Is increased. Supports. Nonlethal aid and which they've already sent some. -- -- inserted into the Syrian rebels -- he also attended a donor's conference. I'm in -- -- course the past few days in Kuwait's. At which the US pledged 280 million dollars. As part of the that the friends of Syria conference so. That's where they stand now they really want to get the opposition to the table but. It's really uncertain as we speak. And potentially compound in -- situation -- Syrian rockets landing in northern Lebanon this morning correct. Absolutely so couple rockets came over the border into northern Lebanon Graham. Are right now we don't know who fired them at last count -- at least seven dead. And this is just a continuation. Of of the spillover violence that we've -- from -- here in Lebanon. -- you and I spoke last week that there was there was -- bombings. In in Beirut last week or seen these incidents that are related -- Syrian war pick up. And the rockets landed in -- border town -- are -- escrow tens of thousands. A Syrian refugees. Have -- Yesterday we saw a suicide. Car bombing in a town in the northern Lebanon called her melt. Carmel is. Is is a Shiite town. We we now know that -- -- suicide bomber came from. A group called -- on this or they are Sunni Muslim Sunni extremists. Who have been doing a lot of the fighting. In Syria so beat these incidents are picking updated -- they're just one after the next and -- -- -- right now. Is that this Syrian war is in Lebanon. All right ABC's outsmart part following that for us this morning -- thank you obviously stay safe as always. The complete report right here on And developments as will be monitoring them throughout the day for now I'm Dan Cutler -- New York with this ABC news digital special reports.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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