Assad's opponents dismiss Russian ideas for solving Syria crisis

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By Sylvia Westall and Yara Bayoumy BEIRUT/DUBAI (Reuters) - Syrian opposition figures and Gulf commentators dismissed on Wednesday a Russian draft proposal for a process to solve the Syrian crisis, saying Moscow's aim was to keep President Bashar al-Assad in power and marginalize dissenting voices. Separately, Saudi Arabia's foreign minister said that if Assad's departure were not completed peacefully, it would be achieved militarily, although he did not address the Russian proposal. A draft document obtained by Reuters on Tuesday showed Moscow would like Damascus and unspecified opposition groups to agree on launching a constitutional reform process of up to 18 months, followed by early presidential elections.