Assad says 'real' cooperation needed to crush ISIL

Assad says 'real' cooperation needed to crush ISIL

DAMASCUS - Agence France-Presse
Assad says real cooperation needed to crush ISIL

Syria's President Bashar al-Assad speaks during a meeting with leadership and members of the Tartous branch of al-Baath Party in Damascus, Nov.20. REUTERS Photo

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said on Nov. 20 that "international cooperation" was necessary to crush the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), which is the target of a U.S.-led campaign.

"The region is going through decisive times" and the most important factor in determining the outcome is whether there is "real and sincere international cooperation" against the jihadists, Assad said.

"Terrorist groups, led by ISIL, did not emerge from nothing but are the fruit of the mistaken and aggressive policies of those who have waged war on Syria," state news agency SANA quoted him as saying.

Assad was speaking to members of his ruling Baath party, just days after U.S. President Barack Obama rejected any alliance with the Syrian president against the jihadists.

Obama, who leads an international coalition against ISIL, which controls swathes of Syria and Iraq, said in Australia on Nov. 16 that Assad, who is facing a nearly four-year armed uprising, "has lost legitimacy with the majority of his people."

 "For us to then make common cause with him against ISIL would only turn more Sunnis in Syria in the direction of supporting ISIL and would weaken our coalition," he said.