United States Secretary of State John Kerry urged the Syrian regime and opposition forces to come together to fight against the DAESH terrorist group, before regime leader Bashar al Assad’s departure, during his speech at the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in Belgrade on Thursday.
He also stressed the difficulty of undertaking such a cooperation, without indicating a solution, regarding Assad’s future in Syria.
During his speech, Kerry expressed the importance of ground forces that will fight against DAESH and said “this will not be won completely from the air.”
“Part of the political strategy that we’re trying to effect in the Vienna process is geared towards trying to get the political transition in place, because if we get a political transition in place, we empower every nation and every entity to come together – the Syrian army together with the opposition, together with all the surrounding countries, together with Russia, the United States, and others – to go and fight DAESH,” Kerry said.
American officials believe that Assad will eventually leave power, but they want it to be a gradual transition because they believe DAESH could exploit the potential power vacuum in Damascus.
“Just imagine how quickly this scourge could be eliminated – in a matter of literally months – if we were able to secure that kind of political resolution,” Kerry said.
"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 might or might not be," he added.
That clarification could come in many forms and would give certainty to the opposition.
"But it would be exceedingly difficult to cooperate without some indication or confidence on the part of those who have been fighting him that in fact there is a resolution or a solution in sight," Kerry said.
Assad, whose forces are responsible for most of the 250,000 deaths during the war, which has forced more than five million people to flee Syria, is backed by Russian and Iranian governments who say Syrian people should decide on Assad’s role at a future presidential election.
Russia has been conducting air strikes against DAESH since September 30.
While striking DAESH’s positions, Russia is also striking Syrian opposition forces who are fighting against DAESH and the regime.