Syria government, rebels could cooperate vs IS ahead of Assad goes: Kerry

ATHENS U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry mentioned on Friday it may well be attainable for the Syrian government and rebel forces to cooperate against Islamic State militants with no Syrian President Bashar al-Assad obtaining very first left power.

However, Kerry said it would be “exceedingly challenging” to obtain this if rebel forces that have been fighting against Assad for far more than four years did not have some confidence that the Syrian leader would ultimately go.

Kerry was asked at a news conference throughout a pay a visit to to Greece regardless of whether Assad’s departure was a precondition for Western-backed rebels to cooperate with government troops against IS, which has captured a swathe of Syria and Iraq and carried out a string of attacks in other nations.

“With respect to the question of Assad and the timing, I think the answer is … it is not clear that he would have to ‘go’ if there was clarity with respect to what his future may well or may well not be,” Kerry stated.

That clarification could come in numerous forms that would give certainty to the opposition.

“But it would be exceedingly tough to cooperate with out some indication or self-assurance on the portion of those who have been fighting him that in reality there is a resolution or a resolution in sight,” Kerry added.

Otherwise the rebels would really feel they were helping and entrenching Assad, which would be entirely unacceptable, he mentioned.

Russia and Iran, Assad’s principal allies, have mentioned it will be up to the Syrian folks to make a decision on Assad’s part at a future presidential election.

Russia has intervened militarily in support of Assad with air strikes against each IS and Western-backed rebels, while a U.S.-led coalition of Western and Sunni Arab states has been waging an air campaign against IS in Syria and Iraq.

A U.S. official who spoke to reporters on situation of anonymity said Kerry’s message was that Assad “does not have to go proper now”, offered there was a clear political transition in prospect, a position Washington has held for months.

(Reporting by Arshad Mohammed Writing by Paul Taylor Editing by Gareth Jones)

Agen Sabung Ayam