Lavrov: Ousting President Assad Would Enable ISIS To Seize Syria

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The Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov warns that the ousting of President Bashar Assad by force would only lead to ISIS seizing power in Syria.

He also said that the Islamic State can only be defeated if all forces who are fighting them, unite

RT reports: Speaking at a press conference after negotiations with his Saudi Arabian counterpart, Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir, Russia’s foreign minister once again warned against a “military solution” regarding Syrian President Bashar Assad, who has been targeted by the west and the Arab states of the Persian Gulf.

“I would not want any powerful state involved in attempts to solve the Syrian crisis to believe that Assad issue may be solved militarily, because the only way of such a military solution is the seizure of power [in Syria] by Islamic State and other terrorists,” Lavrov said, adding: “I don’t think anybody wants that.”

He said that Assad was not posing a threat to any neighboring country, while ISIS is “not just threatening Syria, Iraq and Saudi Arabia” but also draws maps of its would-be caliphate “from Spain to Pakistan.”

“We’ve got to correlate the scale of threats,” Lavrov said, adding that the only disagreement between Moscow and Riyadh over Syria is the future of President Assad.

Meanwhile, Al-Jubeir said that his country is categorically against a coalition with the Syrian government. Saudi Arabia believes that Assad’s actions “against his own people” were the reason for the emergence of ISIS, he said.

“We believe that Bashar Assad has no future in Syria. The only question which worries us is how it will be carried out: If it will be a peaceful way through a transition council, or a military way.”

The Russian foreign minister said that Moscow’s initiative to form a common front against ISIS does not imply the creation of a united military force to counter the terrorist group, only coordination between the countries already battling terrorists. This would involve the “regular armies of Syria and Iraq, the Kurds, and units of the armed Syrian opposition backed by external forces,” Lavrov said.

“We don’t mean forming a classic coalition with a general in chief and troops under his command,” Lavrov told reporters. “What we talk about is… to coordinate all those who are already fighting terrorists and make those forces realize that their principal task is fighting terrorism. The Syrians, the Iraqis – all of them could settle accounts later on, when the terror threat is gone.”

Airstrikes of the US-led anti-ISIS coalition alone, without uniting efforts with those fighting ISIS on the ground, cannot bring victory over Islamic State, Lavrov said.

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