International mediator Lakhdar Brahimi and senior envoys from Russia and the United States called for a political solution to end the Syria conflict on Friday but reached no breakthrough.
Brahimi urged world powers to "create an opening" diplomatically to help stem the bloodshed and alleviate the Syrian people's suffering. He said that he would brief the U.N. Security Council later this month on his latest consultations.
"We stressed again that in our view there was no military solution to this conflict. We underscored the necessity to reach a political solution based on the Geneva communique of 30 June 2012," Brahimi said in a joint statement read out after his closed-door talks with U.S. Deputy Secretary of State William Burns and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov.
Brahimi, in answer to a question on any concrete progress, told reporters: "If you are asking whether there is a solution around the corner, I'm not sure that is the case."
Russia and the United States back opposing sides in Syria's 21-month-old conflict between President Bashar al-Assad's government forces and rebels fighting to topple him.
Asked on Friday whether the Russians shared his views on Assad, he replied: "I am absolutely certain that the Russians are as preoccupied as I am, as preoccupied as the Americans are, by the bad situation that exists in Syria and its continuing deterioration.”
"I am absolutely certain they would like to contribute to its solution," he added.
But pressed on whether Bogdanov had come with new proposals to pave the way for a political transition, he said: "We discussed a lot of things. They had ideas, others also had ideas."
Before the meeting, Bogdanov gave no indication Russia would abandon its insistence that Assad must not be forced out by external powers and that his exit cannot be a precondition for a Syrian political dialogue.
Russia is "eagerly awaiting bringing the agreements reached in Geneva to life without damaging the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria and without violating the right of the Syrian people to choose their own leaders," Bogdanov was quoted as telling Russia Today television.
Russia has blocked several U.N. resolutions aimed at pressuring Assad, but Moscow says it is not propping up his regime. Recently, top Russian officials have signaled they are resigned to Assad eventually losing power.
The U.N. says at least 60,000 people have been killed in the war and millions have fled their homes. So far, all international efforts to end the fighting have failed. Syria has accused Brahimi of "flagrant bias" after he called for real, not cosmetic, change in Syria and accused Assad of resisting the aspirations of his people.
The U.N. refugee agency said Friday that it is concerned about the severe winter conditions faced by about 612,000 Syrian refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, Iraq and Egypt, and there has been no letup in the flow of thousands of people a day across the borders.