Assad a ‘nonstarter’ in new Syrian government: US

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad (SANA photo)

The US administration of President Barack Obama says it would be a "nonstarter" to include Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in any new government to end the conflict in Syria.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest rejected on Wednesday Assad's participation in a new ruling coalition after the Syrian leader said it would not be difficult to agree on a new Syrian governing coalition that included opposition, independents and loyalists.

"I don't know whether he envisioned himself being a part of that national unity government. Obviously that would be a nonstarter for us," Earnest said.

US Press Secretary Josh Earnest (AFP photo)

Syria has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy since March 2011. According to a February report by the Syrian Center for Policy Research, the crisis in the Arab country has claimed the lives of over 470,000 people and displaced nearly half of its pre-war population of about 23 million within or beyond its borders.

Damascus accuses Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Qatar of funding and arming anti-Syria terrorist groups, including Daesh.

Daesh terrorists, who were initially trained by the CIA in Jordan in 2012 to destabilize the Syrian government, now control large parts of Iraq and Syria.

In recent months, the Syrian army, backed by the Russian air power, has been making major gains against Takfiri groups, recapturing several strategic areas from their grip, particularly in the strategic northern province of Aleppo.

Syrians government forces celebrate after they break terrorists' siege on the northern town of Zahra on February 4, 2016. (AFP photo)

A temporary truce agreement engineered by Russia and the United States, which came into force across Syria on February 27, has been holding despite minor reports of violations by the warring sides.


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