Monday, November 17, 2014

Obama says no change in Syria policy, removing Assad still not priority

    Monday, November 17, 2014   No comments

Despite Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu's recent remarks claiming that the US administration is signaling a change of policy over Syria and saying that both Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and the radical Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) must go, US President Barack Obama has said his administration hasn't changed its Syria policy and is not actively working on plans to remove Assad from power.

During a press conference in Brisbane, where the G-20 Leaders' Summit is being held, Obama on Sunday was asked whether the US is recalibrating its Syria policy and making the removal of Assad part of its strategy, even though the removal of Assad initially had not been a priority.

“Certainly, no changes have taken place with respect to our attitude towards Bashar al-Assad,” said Obama.

Stressing once again that Assad has lost legitimacy in the eyes of his own people, Obama explained further why removing Assad from power is not a priority at this point:

“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 that sends a message around the region this is not a fight against Sunni Islam, this is a fight against extremists of any stripe who are willing to behead innocent people or kill children, or mow down political prisoners with the kind of wanton cruelty that I think we've very rarely seen in the modern age.”



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