PARIS, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said all world powers were now in alliance in supporting the defeat of the Islamic State, although Russian reaction was more muted.
He added, in an interview with France’s RTL Radio, that Russia has agreed to avoid airstrikes against moderate Syrian rebel groups who are not in support of the Syrian government, a Russian ally.
Fabius said international support for defeating IS should be restricted to airstrikes, noting, “The lessons of recent wars in the Middle East is that foreign troops are quickly seen as an occupying force.”
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov offered a more restrained assessment of a coalition against IS Friday, saying, “At the moment, unfortunately, our partners are not ready to work as one coalition.”
Friday Fabius said Syrian government troops could also participate in a unified battle against IS, after a regime change from Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s administration.
“There must be two measures: bombings, and ground troops, who cannot be ours, but who should be of the Free Syrian Army, Sunni Arab forces, and why not regime forces too,” he said.
His comments came after French President Francois Hollande and Russian President Vladimir Putin met in Moscow Thursday, after which Hollande said Assad “has no place in the future of Syria” and that Russia “was ready to cooperate with the coalition which is led by the United States.”
By Ed Adamczyk