Syria 'welcomes' Fabius statement on including regime in anti-IS fight
Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem on Friday welcomed the proposal by his French counterpart Laurent Fabius to include the Syrian army in efforts to battle the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group.
"Better late than never. If Fabius is serious about working with the Syrian army and dealing with the forces on the ground that are fighting Daesh, then we welcome that," Muallem told a press conference following talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Moscow, using the Arabic name for IS.
Fabius said Friday that France could envisage Syrian regime troops being involved in the fight against IS but later clarified his statement to say this could be the case only after a regime change.
Fabius told AFP that regime forces could take part in the fight against ISIS "within the context of a political transition -- and only in this context".
Muallem said that the prospect of regime troops joining efforts against IS would "require a fundamental change in the way the Syrian crisis is dealt with."
"Look at the experience of the Russian airforce and its interaction with the Syrian Arab Army on the ground and the results that have been achieved, and learn from them," Muallem said.
French President Francois Hollande said Thursday after talks with President Vladimir Putin in Moscow that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad -- who is strongly backed by Russia -- "has no place in the future of Syria."
But France and some other Western nations have lately softened their approach to Assad, suggesting he could be part of a transitional process to end a war that has left 250,000 people dead.
© 2015 AFP