Troops loyal to President Syrian President Bashar-Assad could be used to fight ISIS, France’s foreign minister said on Friday, but he reiterated Paris’ long-standing position that the Syrian leader needed to step aside.
“Troops on the ground cannot be ours, but (there can be) Syrian soldiers from the Free Syrian Army, Sunni Arab states, and why not regime troops,” Laurent Fabius told RTL radio without specifying exactly whether he meant immediately or in the long-term.
Diplomats were not immediately able to clarify Fabius’ comments. However, they said he has indicated in the past that Syrian government troops could be used to fight ISIS once a national unity government was in place.
“If we want to go towards a free, united … Syria, it cannot be he (Assad) who is at the origin of 300,000 deaths and millions of refugees that can lead that… Assad cannot be the future of his people,” Fabius also said.
Meanwhile, Fabius said destroying ISIS’s Raqqa headquarters is the main objective of the international military campaign.