The five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council have agreed on a draft resolution to endorse a Syrian peace process. All 15 members are preparing to vote on the text.
Diplomats said foreign ministers had agreed on the text of a UN Security Council resolution that maps out a political transition in Syria.
A Council meeting at the UN headquarters in New York was scheduled for 4 p.m. local time (2100 UTC).
The US ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, was said to have been phoning each of the remaining 10 members of the council to brief them on the text ahead of the vote.
Diplomats had hurried to overcome sticking points in the draft resolution, while parties held the latest talks on how to bring an end to the conflict.
If agreed, the resolution would be a rare gesture of unity from Security Council members on the Syria peace process.
Some 20 foreign ministers had been involved in tackling deeply divisive issues, including which Syrian groups should be allowed to take part in peace talks.
Jordanian Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh said he had presented lists from each country of groups they considered were terrorist organizations. Some countries, he said, "sent 10, 15, 20 names" and others more.
'A lost legitimacy'
Under the Vienna process, a six-month political transition period is envisaged once a ceasefire begins.
Rebels have demanded that Assad step down immediately, something that Assad and permanent Security Council member Russia have dismissed.
In his year-end news conference on Friday, President Barack Obama said Assad would have to quit office to bring about a satisfactory end to the civil war in Syria.
Obama said the crisis in Syria could have been easier to end if Assad had stepped down several years ago.
"I think that Assad is going to have to leave in order for the country to stop the blood(shed), for all the parties involved to be able to move forward in a nonsectarian way," Obama said.
"He has lost legitimacy in the eyes of the country."
More than 250,000 people have died since the Syria conflict flared up in March 2011, and millions more have left their homes.
rc/msh (AFP, dpa, Reuters, AP)