(NEW YORK) -- There are low expectations for a summit scheduled on Saturday in Geneva of world powers to discuss the crisis in Syria, even after Secretary of State Hillary Clinton expressed optimism that a peace plan offered by United Nations special emissary Kofi Annan is the best hope yet for achieving an end to 16 months of violence.
In what has been described as a transition plan, Annan will recommend that the government of President Bashar al-Assad and rebel forces take "irreversible" steps to halt the low-grade civil war that by some estimates has cost over 15,000 lives since March 2011.
Annan's proposal includes multi-party elections as well as substantial funding from the international community to help repair cities that have endured destruction from street battles and shelling by the Syrian military.
However, getting al-Assad to voluntarily step aside to allow the transition likely won't happen, especially with his strongest foreign ally, Russia, refusing to go along with such a demand.
It is clear, however, that something needs to be done because the violence has only intensified since the failure of Annan's initial ceasefire plan. At least 91 people were killed on Thursday while anti-government forces launched a bomb attack outside the Palace of Justice in Damascus that wounded three Syrians.
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