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Saudi Arabia Rejects Russia’s Plea to Involve Assad in Anti-ISIS Fight

The Russian government has failed to convince anyone to work with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to fight against the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL), with the latest rejection coming from Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir, who told Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov his country will not ally themselves with Assad.

“A key reason behind the emergence of Islamic State was the actions of Assad who directed his arms at his nation, not Islamic State,” declared Jubeir. “Assad is part of the problem, not part of the solution to the Syrian crisis… There is no place for Assad in the future of Syria.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin sided with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad when the country broke out in a civil war four years ago. The war birthed radical Islamic groups, but ISIS is the most notorious of all of them. They established their caliphate in Syria and Iraq, where they rule under their cruel interpretation of Sharia law.

Saudi Arabia joined a U.S.-led coalition to battle ISIS, which recently added NATO-member Turkey. Lavrov hoped his meeting would convince the coalition members to add Syria.

“The talks are about… coordinating all those who are already fighting terrorists so that they put their main focus on fighting terrorism and leave for later settling scores between themselves,” described Lavrov.

He presented a proposal to Turkey, but they refused Russia’s plans as well. The Turkish government hesitated the past year to join the fight against ISIS, even though they share a border with Syria. They supported the rebels against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad when the civil war started four years ago. Media reports have on multiple occasions tied Turkey to the radical Islamic group.

But that all changed after a suicide bomber murdered 32 people and injured 100 in Suruç at “a cultural centre hosting anti-Islamic State activists.” Those at the event were about to head to Kobane, a strategic Kurdish town recently recaptured by Kurdish forces. Suruç is directly across the border from Kobane.

“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.”

Lavrov then tried to convince Secretary of State John Kerry, but he also claimed the U.S. cannot take part in any coalition that gives Assad power. Lavrov immediately blasted the alliance.

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.’

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