While the USA and Russian Federation clash over Vladimir Putin’s decision to begin airstrikes in Syria, representatives from Iraqi Kurdistan called on the two world powers to stop bickering and align in their support for the group that both Washington and Moscow admit has fielded one of the only ground forces so far capable of fighting the Islamic State group.
But while the U.S. and Iran have been at odds in Syria and in Yemen – where the USA has supported a Saudi-led bombing campaign against Houthi rebels allied to Iran – the two erstwhile foes have a tacit understanding about the common threat posed by Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in the region.
The Prime Minister will use one-to-one talks with a number of key figures – though not Mr Putin – to press his case that the Syrian president “can’t be part” of a peaceful solution to the civil war.
“But there has to the perspective of a (political) transition”, Fabius said. The prime minister told reporters Assad has “butchered his own people” and fomented the rise of Islamic State (Isis).
Kerry will also meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in New York today to reach consensus on efforts to end the war and destroy the Islamic State.
The move comes as Moscow boosts its military presence in neighbouring Syria, deploying more troops and warplanes to an air base along with new arms deliveries to Assad’s regime, a longstanding Russian ally. “We will strike each time that our national security is at stake”, French president Francois Hollande said in a statement.
The United States has a $500-million programme to train and equip vetted moderates recruited from among the rebels fighting Assad, but it has faced repeated setbacks.
This wouldn’t be the first time that the fight against ISIS has resulted in cooperation between US allies and rivals.
“We are just at the beginning of trying to understand what the Russians’ intentions are in Syria, in Iraq, and to try to see if there are mutually beneficial ways forward here. How can you imagine Syrians coming back if we tell them that their future passes through Assad?”
“This still isn’t very clear; therefore the conversations that we are going to have…or that other colleagues of mine will have…is going to allow, I hope, to clarify the situation in a positive way,” he said.
“If we are to succeed in defeating terrorism, the government in Damascus can not be weakened”, Rouhani stressed. “This must be brought to an end and its actions must be made compatible with the realities of the region”. The United Kingdom plans to accept 20,000 more Syrian refugees from camps in neighboring countries, though it’s refusing to join European Union efforts to provide asylum for those who have fled to Europe.