TODAY   |  December 07, 2012

US, Russia mull options for Syria crisis

NBC’s Andrea Mitchell weighs in on what's the next move diplomatically in response to Syria’s chemical weapons threat as Russia agrees to explore the option of moving to an interim government without Syria’s President Assad. NBC’s Andrea Mitchell reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> to you.

>> good morning, savannah.

>> as i understand it, the military options as a practical matter are quite limited. you can't bomb a stockpile of chemical weapons . what are the diplomatic moves that are left?

>> well, this is the first promising sign. russia as of yesterday has at least agreed to explore the possibility of a political transition, savannah, to an interim government without assad . now, in talks between lower level russian and u.s. diplomats with the u.n. mediator for syria that will take place in geneva, they will explore whether this is really syria. the u.s. has been disappointed before. russia agreed last year, and then putin backed off, continuing his strong support for assad , but this week vladamir putin began to signal that he just might have realize that had assad 's regime can no longer survive. it's because obviously of the rebel advances, and as they have gained strength, as richard was just reporting, the russians now seem ready to at least hedge their bets. they have told hillary clinton as of yesterday that they will not accept assad in exile in russia , but now we're hearing that some latin american countries , possibly venezuela, could be willing to take him in if he would ever step down. that, of course, is really hypothetical. at the very least now u.s. officials hope that the fact that they are meeting with the russians will signal to some of assad 's top allies in the regime that perhaps it's time to get out and defect.

>> all right. andrea mitchell in our washington bureau this morning.