U.S. says new Syrian government including Assad a 'non-starter'

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The White House said on Wednesday it would be a "non-starter" to include Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in any new ruling coalition government to end the civil war in Syria. White House spokesman Josh Earnest ruled out Assad's participation in a new government after the Syrian leader said it would not be difficult to agree on a new Syrian governing coalition that included opposition, independents and loyalists. "I don't know whether he envisioned himself being a part of that national unity government. Obviously that would be a non-starter for us," Earnest said. (Reporting by David Alexander; Editing by Paul Simao)