Obama says 'Assad must go' to end civil war in Syria

US President Barack Obama says it is not possible to imagine peaceful Syria if Bashar al Assad remains in power

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

U.S. President Barack Obama gestures during his remarks to reporters after a bilateral meeting with Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau alongside the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in Manila, Philippines, November 19, 2015

US President Barack Obama repeated on Thursday during an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting in Manila that "Assad must go" for the civil war in Syria to end, and called on the two main allies of Bashar al Assad, Russia and Iran, to decide whether they want to "save the Syrian State" or prop up the Assad regime.

He said even if he approved Assad remaining in power, it wouldn’t work.

"You could not get the Syrian people, the majority of them, to agree to that kind of outcome."

Many western countries, some Gulf nations and Turkey are also insisting Assad leave his position to provide stability and peace in the country which was dragged into a civil war that has been ongoing for the past four-and-a-half years and has killed 250,000 Syrians.

Last week, British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond asked reporters at the United Nations, "How can we bring peace to a country that went through a vicious civil war in which 250-300,000 people died without removing the cause of that civil war?"

"We do not believe that it is going to be possible to bring the opposition groups into the political process and have an effective ceasefire unless we have a clear point at which President Assad will depart," he said.

Recently, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu reiterated that England and many other countries believe that Syria needs Assad to depart. He also stressed that there shouldn't be a transition period with Assad heading the country. 

"There must be a transition in Syria which guarantees democracy and peace," he said, adding that Turkey would only support a transition process accepted by the Syrian people.

Iran and Russia 'will have to make a fundamental shift in policy'

Obama also commented on the current situation in Syria, saying that most of the Russian airstrikes were not targeting DAESH due to a flawed strategy.

"They will have to make a fundamental shift in policy," he said, adding that the truths anti-DAESH coalition members were recognised could take months for Russians, the Iranians and the ruling elites within the regime to recognise.

On the other hand, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said that Russian effords against DAESH in Syria were sincere.

"There is an opening, so to speak, with the Russians. We think they are sincere and we must bring together all our forces," Fabius told France Inter radio on Thursday.

TRTWorld and agencies