Quote: "According to Obama's reported plan, Syrian President Bashar Assad would step down from power, while several members of his regime would remain in office,". That would leave "in office" the main culprits who stand behind Assad and direct his actions. One has to value SecSate's Clinton comment: "The United States will work with the international community to intensify our pressure on Assad and his cronies, whose rule by murder and fear must come to an end."". The leading words are "and his cronies". This does not mean that Assad is a puppet, it means that without the support and guidance of those cronies he wouldn't be doing what he is doing.
Colombia recalls ambassador to Venezuela amid border crisis (Reuters)
from the article: Report: Obama seeking Russia aid in orderly Syria regime change