Syria's Assad to lead during transition: Minister

DAMASCUS (AFP) - Syria's Bashar al-Assad will remain president and lead any transition agreed upon in Geneva peace talks planned for next month, a government minister insisted on Wednesday.

"If anyone thinks we are going to Geneva to hand the keys to Damascus over to the opposition, then he might as well not go," Information Minister Omran al-Zohbi said in remarks carried by the official Sana news agency.

"The decision rests with President Assad. He will lead the period of transition, if there is one. He is the leader of Syria... And he will remain the president of Syria."