Saudi minister says ‘no Assad’ in Syria’s future

Saudi foreign minister says there is no future for Bashar al Assad in Syria

Photo by: Reuters (Archive)
Photo by: Reuters (Archive)

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir attends a joint news conference with French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, in Riyadh January 19, 2016.

Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Adel al Jubeir told a German newspaper that Bashar al Assad will not be ruling Syria in the future despite Russia’s military support to help him stay in power.

"There will be no Bashar al Assad in the future," al Jubeir told newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung in an interview published on Saturday.

"It might take three months, it might take six months or three years - but he will no longer carry responsibility for Syria. Period."

Many western countries, some Gulf nations and Turkey are insisting Assad to 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 five years and has killed at least 470,000 Syrians, according to a recent report by the Syrian Center for Policy Research.

Al Jubeir said Syrian people are still determined to overthrow Assad despite heavy Russian air strikes and persecution within the country, as he criticised Moscow for its involvement in the war.

He said that Assad's previous calls for help to his own military, Iran, Hezbollah and Shiite militia forces from Iraq and Pakistan were all in vain.

"Now he called the Russians, but they won't be able to help him either," al Jubeir said.

People walk among debris after what activists said were air strikes carried out by the Russian air force in Idlib city, Syria.

Russia's intervention, which began in late September, has tipped the balance of the war in favour of Syrian regime leader Bashar al Assad, reversing gains the opposition made last year.

Moscow has said its air strikes are against DAESH terror group, but Western powers and Turkey say the attacks target opposition forces and civilians, as rights groups have accused Russia of committing war crimes.

Asked about a more direct military involvement with 'boots on the ground', al Jubeir said the topic is being discussed among the member states of a US-led coalition against DAESH.

He said “Saudi Arabia will be ready to participate if the coalition decides to deploy special forces in the fight against DAESH in Syria."

On Friday, major powers, including Russia, reached agreement on plans for a ceasefire between opposition and regime forces in Syria, although Moscow has said it will continue bombing terrorists.

According to the monitoring group Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), at least 1,400 civilians have been killed in Syria by Russian air strikes since September 2015.

TRTWorld and agencies