Syrian FM Warns US against Airstrikes on Militants

Image: Syrian FM Warns US against Airstrikes on Militants Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem. (Philippe Desmazes/AFP/Getty Images)

Monday, 25 Aug 2014 06:50 AM

By Newsmax Wires

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Syria's foreign minister has warned the U.S. not to conduct airstrikes inside Syria against the Islamic State group without Damascus' consent.

Walid al-Moallem says such an act "by anyone," without the approval from President Bashar Assad's government, would be a violation of Syrian sovereignty and would be considered an aggression.

But the top Syrian diplomat also said on Monday that Syria is ready to work with regional states and the international community in the war on terror amid the onslaught of Islamic militants.

Al-Moallem's remarks at a press conference in Damascus marked the first public comments by a senior Assad official on the threat posed by the Islamic State, which has captured large swaths of Iraqi and Syrian territory.

Al-Moallem denounced the Islamic State's killing of U.S. journalist James Foley.

He said Syria is ready to work with the international community, including the United States, to combat "terrorism" within the framework of a UN resolution on extremists.

"Syria is ready for cooperation and coordination at the regional and international level to fight terrorism and implement UN Security Council resolution 2170," he said.

He confirmed, in response to a question, that the country's willingness to do so would extend to cooperating with the United States and Britain.

"They are welcome," he said.

Al-Moallem added that Syria was willing to participate in such efforts as part of a regional or international coalition, or on the basis of bilateral cooperation.

But, he said, "we must feel that the cooperation is serious and not double standards".

"Any violation of Syria's sovereignty would be an act of aggression."

His comments at a news conference in Damascus come as the Islamic State jihadist group makes advances in several parts of Syria, including Raqa province, where it seized the army's last provincial outpost on Sunday.

The United Nations Security Council passed a rare unanimous resolution on August 15 intended to weaken jihadists in Iraq and Syria by choking off their funding and stemming the flow of foreign fighters.

The resolution targeted both the Islamic State and Al-Nusra Front, which is Al-Qaeda's Syrian affiliate, two jihadist groups.

But Syria's government considers all those fighting to oust President Bashar al-Assad to be "terrorists".

 

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