Quotes: MENA   Enter Symbol: NewsLetter: Search: advanced

Syria warns US: No unilateral strikes on militants  Join our daily free Newsletter

MENAFN - Arab News - 26/08/2014
No. of Ratings : 0
Add to Mixx!



(MENAFN - Arab News) BEIRUT: Syria said Monday it was ready to help confront the rising threat from the Islamic State group but warned the United States against carrying out airstrikes without Damascus' consent saying any such attack would be considered an aggression.

In seeking to portray itself as a partner for the international community Syria seemed intent on capitalizing on the growing clamor among some US officials including military leaders to expand the current American air campaign against the Islamic extremists in Iraq and to hit them in Syria as well.

President Barack Obama has long been wary of getting dragged into the bloody and complex Syrian civil war that the United Nations says has killed more than 190000 people. He has resisted intervening militarily in the conflict even after a deadly chemical weapons attack a year ago that Washington blamed on President Bashar Assad's government.

But the extremist group's rampage across wide swaths of Iraq declaration of a state governed by their harsh interpretation of Islamic law in territory spanning the Iraq-Syria border and grisly beheading of an American journalist have injected a new dynamic into those calculations. Now Obama faces pressure from his own military leaders to go after the extremists inside Syria.

Speaking in Damascus Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Al-Moallem appeared acutely aware of how much has changed since last August when the US was threatening to carry out punitive airstrikes against Assad's government in the wake of the chemical attack. Since then global disapproval has shifted away from Assad and toward the Islamic extremists who are fighting him and spreading destruction across Syria and Iraq.

Al-Moallem told reporters his government is ready 'to cooperate and coordinate' with any side including the US or join any regional or international alliance against the Islamic State group. But he said any military action inside Syria should be coordinated with the Syrian government.

'Any strike which is not coordinated with the government will be considered as aggression' he said.

He said Damascus has warned repeatedly of the threat of terrorism and the need to cut off resources and funding but 'no one listened to us.' Syria's government has long described the rebels fighting to topple Assad as 'terrorists' in a foreign conspiracy.

In Moscow Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov also said Western nations that long refused to condemn Assad's enemies were now coming to realize the threat posed by the Islamic State group.

The West he said will 'have to choose what is more important: to change the regime and satisfy personal antipathies with the risk that the situation will crumble or find pragmatic ways to join efforts against the common threat which is the same for all of us terrorism.'

Moscow has been a close ally of Damascus for decades and has provided it with weapons and funding to help support Assad throughout the current conflict.

Mustafa Alani the director of the security and defense department at the Gulf Research Center in Geneva said Syria's offer aims to take advantage of current events in Iraq and the corresponding shift in American and European attitudes about Assad and the Islamic State extremists.

'The Syrian government is trying to say they are on the same side as the international community. The old claim from Day 1 that the Syrians have tried to make is that they are fighting pure terrorism. There's no revolution no rebels no opposition' Alani said.

'I don't see this sort of call being acceptable especially on the regional level' he added. 'The Americans might find themselves forced to cooperate under the table with the Syrians. But I don't think Arab countries will accept Syria as a member of the club fighting the Islamic State.'

The Abbas regime's warnings about the Islamic State group ring hollow to many in the opposition who have watched Damascus turn a blind eye to the militants' expansion in Syria for more than a year. Many even accuse the government of facilitating the group's rise at the expense of more mainstream rebel factions.

The breakaway Al-Qaeda group is the most powerful faction fighting Assad's forces which means a US campaign to weaken the Islamic State extremists could actually strengthen a leader the White House has sought to push from office. Obama could try to counteract that awkward dynamic by also targeting Assad's forces though that could drag the US into the bloody complex conflict something he has studiously tried to avoid.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Monday that Obama has not made a decision on whether to take military action inside Syria but noted that the president has demonstrated his willingness to take military action to protect American citizens.

'That is true without regard to international borders' he said.

Earnest tried to tamp down the notion that strikes against the Islamic State could have the unintended consequence of bolstering the Syrian government saying: 'We're not interested in trying to help the Assad regime.' However he noted that there are 'a lot of cross-pressures here in this situation.'

Despite Al-Moallem's warning against unilateral US airstrikes there is little the Assad government could do should the US decide to target the Muslim extremists inside Syria.

US officials revealed last week that American special forces had tried to rescue American journalist James Foley in a failed operation in Raqqa in July. Islamic State militants beheaded Foley last week.

Referring to that failed mission Al-Moallem said: 'Had there been prior coordination that operation would not have failed.'

Still the minister denounced 'in the strongest terms possible' Foley's killing while also asking: 'Has the West ever condemned the massacres by the Islamic State ... against our armed forces or citizens'

Al-Moallem's news conference came a day after jihadis captured a major military air base in northeastern Syria eliminating the last government-held outpost in a province otherwise dominated by the Islamic State group. After several failed attempts Islamic State fighters stormed the Tabqa air base Sunday killing dozens of troops inside.

Al-Moallem conceded defeat in Tabqa saying that soldiers were withdrawn to nearby areas along with their weaponry and warplanes. Videos posted on militant websites Monday showed celebrations in the nearby town of Tabqa controlled by the Islamic State group including fighters honking noisily as they drove in cars carrying the group's black-and-white flags.

___

Associated Press writers Zeina Karam in Beirut and Lynn Berry in Moscow contributed to this report.

 


Arab News




  MENA News Headlines
 Dec 22 2014 - Iraq thanks Kuwait for compensation defermentKuwait News Agency (KUNA)
(MENAFN - Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)) Visiting Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi expressed his gratification at the Kuwaiti government's acceptance to defer Iraq's payment of compensation for ...

 Dec 22 2014 - GCC chief welcomes Saudi King's initiative on Egyptian-Qatari tiesKuwait News Agency (KUNA)
(MENAFN - Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)) GCC Secretary-General Abdullatif Al-Zayani expressed here on Sunday satisfaction with the initiative of Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz aimed at consolidating ...

 Dec 22 2014 - Bahrain welcomes positive steps on Qatari-Egyptian cooperation trackKuwait News Agency (KUNA)
(MENAFN - Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)) The Kingdom of Bahrain welcomed the blessed and positive steps on the track of bilateral cooperation between Qatar and Egypt.In a press statement published by ...

 Dec 22 2014 - Oil Min. stresses Kuwait's support to OAPECKuwait News Agency (KUNA)
(MENAFN - Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)) Kuwait plays a vital role backing the Organization of Arab Petroleum Exporting Countries (OAPEC), Minister of Oil and Minister of State for National Assembly ...

 Dec 22 2014 - Saudi Arabia, Spain discuss boosting fields of defenseKuwait News Agency (KUNA)
(MENAFN - Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)) Saudi Crown Prince, Deputy Premier and Defense Minister Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud received here Sunday visiting Spanish Defense Minister Pedro Morenes and his ...

 Dec 22 2014 - Kuwait- Iraqi premier receives KFAED chiefKuwait News Agency (KUNA)
(MENAFN - Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)) Visiting Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi received Director-General of the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development (KFAED) Abdulwahab Al-Bader at Bayan ...

 Dec 22 2014 - Kuwait- GCC environment meetings kick off tomorrowKuwait News Agency (KUNA)
(MENAFN - Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)) The 18th meeting of the GCC environment ministers meeting and the 34th meeting for their undersecretaries will kick-start here in Kuwait on December 22, Acting ...

 Dec 22 2014 - Kuwait- US dollar supported by tighter monetary policy - NBK reportKuwait News Agency (KUNA)
(MENAFN - Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)) The US dollar surged against its major counterparts as the divergence between approaching tighter monetary policy in the US and looser policies in Europe, Japan, ...

 Dec 22 2014 - Kuwait- Interior Min. receives Arab Interior Ministers Council chiefKuwait News Agency (KUNA)
(MENAFN - Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)) Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Sheikh Mohammad Al-Khaled Al-Hamad Al-Sabah received here on Sunday Secretary-General of Arab Interior Ministers ...

 Dec 22 2014 - Kuwait- MoI embarks on ambitious prog. to harness skills of law enforcers - officialKuwait News Agency (KUNA)
(MENAFN - Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)) Assistant Undersecretary of the Ministry of Interior for Learning and Education Major General Sheikh Faisal Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah said Sunday that the Ministry ...

more...


 






Google

Click to Apply

 
 

Middle East North Africa - Financial Network

MENAFN News Market Data Countries Tools Section  
 

Middle East North Africa - Financial Network
Arabic MENAFN

Main News
News By Industry
News By Country

Islamic Finance News
Private Equity News

How-To Guides
Technology Section

Travel Section

Search News

Market Indices
Quotes & Charts

Global Indices
Arab Indices

Commodoties

Oil & Energy

Currencies Cross Rates
Currencies Updates
Currency Converter

USA Stocks
Arab Stocks
 

Algeria 
Bahrain 
Egypt 
Iraq
Jordan 
Kuwait 
Lebanon
Morocco 
Oman 
Palestine
Qatar 
Saudi Arabia 
Syria
Tunisia 
UAE 
Yemen

Weather
Economic Calendar
Financial Glossary


Financial Calculators

RSS Feeds [XML]

Corporate Monitor

Events

Real Estate
Submit Your Property

Arab Research
Buy a Research

Press Releases
Submit your PR

Join Newsletters


 
© 2014 menafn.com All Rights Reserved.  Terms of Service | Privacy Policy | Contact Us | Advertise | About MENAFN | Career Opportunities | Feedback | Help