Up to now, a key stumbling block for the US and Russia has been their disagreement over the future of Assad, with Russia insisting he must be part of any political resolution and the US saying he must go. Russia does not appear to have budged, but the US and some other Western powers, including Germany, appear to be considering the idea that Assad might have to figure temporarily in an internationally brokered political transition.
The signs of an apparent Western shift in thinking on Assad comes from the stalled efforts to weaken and destroy the Islamic State, as well as the lack of a viable alternative to Assad. Obama will hold a summit of the anti-Islamic State collation countries on Tuesday, but his update on the campaign against the group will not be bright.
Since the European countries are being overrun with immigrants from Syria I can understand how they are ready to settle for Assad. My feelings for awhile now have been that asshole though he may be, we don't have much of an alternative, at least in the short run. And in the long run we're all dead anyway. Imposing democracy on the countries of the Middle East hasn't been a great success. Here's hoping there's a way to kind of slowly back away.