Merkel says aiming to resolve Syria conflict without Assad

German Chancellor Angela Merkel attends the weekly cabinet meeting at the Chancellery in Berlin, Germany, December 16, 2015. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch (Reuters)

BERLIN (Reuters) - The goal of diplomatic efforts to end the four-year-old conflict in Syria is to reach a long-term solution that does not involve Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Wednesday. "This is about ending the war in Syria without Assad ... Assad can never be part of a long-term solution," Merkel told German lawmakers in the Bundestag lower house of parliament, drawing applause. (Writing by Paul Carrel; Editing by Noah Barkin)