White House Believes Vladimir Putin Coming Around on Assad’s Exit From Power

The White House believes Vladimir Putin coming around on Assad’s exit from power

Calling the 35-minute discussion "constructive," a White House official noted the meeting focused "around ongoing efforts to resolve the conflict in Syria," including Russia’s efforts to fight ISIS in Syria.

As the presidents sat in full view of cameras, Putin and Obama discussed at length today "a Syrian-led and Syrian-owned political transition" – in other words: what the U.S. sees as ultimately removing Assad from power – peacefully.

The Obama administration believes that since the downing of the Russian jet in the Sinai Peninsula on Oct. 31, which Obama "offered his deep condolences for the loss of Russian life," Putin is getting more in line with the international community's position that Assad must go.

The leaders did not have a formal bilateral meeting scheduled but the White House had hinted that an informal meeting was possible, similar to the circumstances leading to their impromptu meeting at the United Nations General Assembly on September 28.

ABC News' Patrick Reevell contributed to this report