A boy holds a Syrian flag with the image of Assad.
A boy holds a Syrian flag with the image of Assad during a rally marking Syria's Independence Day in the Druze village of Buqata in the Israeli Golan Heights, April 17, 2013. Photo by Reuters
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AFP
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry in Geneva, January 22, 2014. Photo by AFP

The international peace conference on Syria has exposed President Bashar Assad's isolation, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says.

"Today we can more clearly understand how alone Assad is in standing for himself, not for Syria," Kerry tells a press conference.

Kerry spoke to reporters after a bitter clash Wednesday over President Assad's future threatened to collapse peace talks, even before they had begun, with the aim of carving a path out of Syria's civil war.

Terming the talks a "a tough and complicated process," Kerry added that the resolution to the crisis "cannot be about one man's insistence, or one family's insistence, on staying in power."

Kerry noted that the purpose of conference was to begin the creation of transitional government and that "every entity here today with one exception talked about that."

The resolution of the talks, he said, "cannot be about one man, or one family, insisting on clinging to power."

Syrian regime delegates responded to talks of Assad leaving office bluntly, saying that "there will be no transfer of power and Bashar Assad is staying."

Kerry left the door open for Iran to participate in Syrian peace talks, saying Tehran could make a difference in ending the conflict.

"Iran certainly does have an ability to be helpful and make a difference," Kerry said.

"We hope they will decide to be constructive and make a decision to operate in a way going forward that can allow them to do so," Kerry said, adding: "There are plenty of ways that that door can be opened in the next weeks or months, and my hope is they will want to join in a constructive solution."