EU says it's unrealistic to imagine Syria's Assad can stay

The European Union's top diplomat says it's "completely unrealistic" to think that President Bashar Assad could retain power over any future government in a post-war Syria.

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said Monday that "it seems completely unrealistic to believe that the future of Syria will be exactly the same as it used to be in the past."

But, she added, "it is for the Syrians to decide, that's clear."

Her remarks in Luxembourg come as Washington appears to be softening its line against Assad.

In London Friday, U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis suggested that Assad's status is not the most important question right now.

International donors gather in Brussels on Wednesday to drum up financial aid and support for a lasting solution to the six-year-long conflict.