Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has said there can be no political solution for his country’s crisis until “terrorism” is defeated. In an interview on Wednesday to Russian media, Assad urged all political and armed factions in Syria to unite in the fight against “terrorist groups”, including the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), al-Nusra Front and “some others”.
He added that he would only give up power if the people – and not the United States – asked him to do so. Assad said the US, which has been leading a coalition that is carrying out airstrikes on ISIL in Syria and Iraq, refuses to work and coordinate with his government.
Saudi Arabia has reacted to Assad’s comments, saying his departure is a “matter of time”.
“If Assad does no respond to the political soluion, he will be excluded through a military solution,” Adel al-Jubeir, the Saudi foreign minister, said. “He will leave sooner or later, because [he is powerless]… But we hope the solution will be political in order to stem bloodshed.”