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Russian Foreign Minister: U.S. Should Work with Bashar Al-Assad Against ISIS

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov demanded the U.S. work with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to fight the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL). He recently criticized the U.S. for leading a coalition against the terrorist group without authorization from the regime.

“Our American partners and some countries in the region persistently refuse to recognize Assad as a partner, which is rather strange,” stated Lavrov. “Assad was a fully legitimate partner in destroying chemical arms but somehow he is not in fighting terrorism.”

Lavrov met with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu last week to discuss ways to attack ISIS, but they could not find common ground.

“The international community already conducts a battle against Daesh [ISIL],” said Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesperson Tanju Bilgiç. “Turkey is part of an international coalition and provides concrete support to these efforts. Apart from that, we don’t have any other methods or plan in our agenda concerning the struggle against Daesh.”

The government announced an airstrike campaign in Syria and gave America permission to use the Incirlik Air Base to strike ISIS in Syria. However, Turkey decided to also launch a campaign against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), “a Marxist-Lenin terrorist group the Turkish government has vowed to eradicate along with ISIS.” While the Syrian Kurdish military allied itself with PKK, the Iraqi Kurds do not get along with PKK. The rivalry between PKK and Barzani’s Kudistan Democratic Party (KDP) traces back to the Iraqi Kurdish civil war in the 1990s.

Russian President Vladimir Putin sided with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad when the country broke out in a civil war four years ago. His support led to Russian members of ISIS to threaten him via propaganda videos. Lavrov told the Secretary of State the current coalition is wrong:

Moscow has so far criticized US plans to provide air cover for Syrian opposition jointly with Turkey and has said that any support for the opposition hampers Syria’s fight against ISIS. Russia has been supporting Syria’s president Bashar al Assad while also trying to forge an alliance between Saudi Arabia, Turkey and the government in Syria in order to fight ISIS.

And in opening his meeting with Kerry in Doha, Sergei Lavrov said that the United States and Saudi Arabia should step in to settle the civil war in Syria. Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov said Monday that quote “helping Syrian opposition, let alone helping with financial or military means would lead to a further destabilization of the situation in the country.”

Secretary John Kerry told Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Adel Jubair, “Assad had no place in Syria’s future.” He also claimed that Assad’s regime “helped foster ISIS’s growth and the presence of foreign fighters.”

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