Omani Foreign Minister Yussef bin Alawi was the first Arab foreign minister Assad met since the beginning of the Syrian war. They were officially said to have discussed “the ideas proposed at the regional and international levels to help resolve the crisis in Syria.” Assad replied: “The Syrian people … welcome the sultanate’s sincere efforts to help Syrians realize their aspirations in a way that preserves the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity." DEBKAfile: Oman was a leading broker between Tehran and Washington in the back-channel talks that culminated in negotiations for a nuclear accord. Since Assad’s Moscow visit six days ago, Putin has spoken of possible collaboration with rebel forces to fight ISIS. Assad said he would accept fresh elections, after the Russian president was quoted as advising Washington that the Syrian ruler would agree not to stand for re-election, if members of his family were allowed to run for president.