Turkey is willing to work with all countries, including Russia, to find a political solution in Syria without President Bashar al-Assad and defeat the Islamic State extremist group, its prime minister said Monday.
Ahmet Davutoglu made the remarks shortly after US President Barack Obama told the UN General Assembly he was ready to work with Russia nad Iran to end the war in Syria.
“We are ready to cooperate with any country to fight ISIS,” Davutoglu told reporters at UN headquarters using another acronym for IS.
“What we need to do is having solidarity with all the countries, including Russia, to make a transition in Syria a peaceful transition and in the new Syria, there should not be any place for Assad or Daesh,” he said, referring to IS.
Obama on Monday took a swipe at Russia and Iran for backing “tyrants” like Assad but told the United Nations that he was ready to work with them to end the conflict.
Obama argued it would be wrong to support a “tyrant” like Assad, “who drops barrel bombs to massacre innocent children” and challenged the view that the alternative would be “surely worse.”
After months of staying on the sidelines, Turkey announced in August that it was ready to being a “comprehensive” fight against IS jihadists in Syria alongside the United States.
Washington has insisted that Assad must leave power as a pre-requisite for any settlement to the conflict.
Turkey backed Assad’s regime until the outbreak of the civil war in 2011, after which it switched its support to rebels fighting to overthrow him.
The General Assembly, the world’s largest diplomatic gathering, is shaping up as a showdown between Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin over fighting IS in Syria and pushing for regime change in Damascus.
Moscow has put Washington on the back foot by dispatching troops and aircraft to the war-torn country and pushing reluctant world leaders to admit that Assad could cling to power.