Russia will ‘fail to save’ Assad, says Al-Jubeir
Russia will ‘fail to save’ Assad, says Al-Jubeir
Jubeir told a press conference in Riyadh that previous efforts to prop up Assad, including by Iran, had “failed.”
“Now, (Assad) has sought the help of Russia, which will fail to save him,” he said, urging Moscow to “end its air operations against the moderate Syrian opposition.”
Russia, Assad’s closest ally alongside Iran, began conducting airstrikes in September, targeting mainly rebels backed by the West, according to US officials.
Analysts believe that Russia’s military intervention in Syria has given Assad a new lease of life and has also deeply alarmed the West.
But Al-Jubeir said that “it is impossible for a man behind the killing of 300,000 innocent people... to remain” in power.
Assad’s departure “is a matter of time... sooner or later, this regime will fall, opening the way for building a new Syria without Bashar Assad,” he said .
He urged the Syrian regime to “immediately allow the entry of humanitarian assistance to all parts of Syria, end military attacks on innocent civilians... (and) begin a political transition in Syria.”
A 17-nation Syria Support Group, co-chaired by Russia and the United States, agreed on Friday to seek a “cessation of hostilities” within a week and dramatically ramp up humanitarian access to besieged towns.
Critics have said the deal is hobbled by the fact it does not include “terrorist” groups such as the Daesh group and the Al-Qaeda affiliate Al-Nusra, leaving room for Russia to continue attacks by claiming it is targeting jihadists.
The agreement followed a major offensive by Syrian government forces, backed by heavy Russian bombing and Iranian troops, on the rebel stronghold of Aleppo.
Saudi troop deployment in Syria
On the planned deployment of Saudi special forces in Syria, Al-Jubeir said it will depend on a decision by the US-led coalition fighting Daesh (Islamic State) militants.
“The Kingdom’s readiness to provide special forces to any ground operations in Syria is linked to a decision to have a ground component to this coalition against Daesh in Syria — this US-led coalition — so the timing is not up to us,” he said.
US Defense Secretary Ash Carter said on Friday he expected both Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to send special operations forces to Syria to help local opposition fighters in their drive to retake the city of Raqqa, Daesh’s de facto capital in Syria.
Saudi Arabia on Saturday confirmed it had sent aircraft to NATO-member Turkey’s Incirlik air base for the fight against Daesh militants
Al-Jubeir said the timing of the mission or size of troops has yet to be worked out.
Major powers agreed in Munich on Friday to a pause in combat in Syria, but Russia pressed on with bombing in support of Assad, its ally. Assad has promised to fight until he regains full control of the country.
US President Barack Obama has ruled out sending US ground troops to Syria. But Turkey said that both Ankara and Riyadh would support a coalition ground operation.
Saudi Arabia to send Syrians an additional $100 million of humanitarian aid
- Total relief provided by the Kingdom since the war began now stands at about $1billion
- Latest package announced by Foreign Minister Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir at conference in Brussels
JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia will provide an additional $100 million of humanitarian aid to alleviate the suffering of the people of Syria, through the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center.
The announcement of the latest aid package was made by Minister of Foreign Affairs Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir on April 25 at an international conference on the future of Syria and the region, held in the Belgian capital Brussels. He pointed out that the meeting comes after the suspected chemical attack in the city of Douma, in eastern Ghouta, which killed dozens of civilians, including women and children.
“The world is facing a regime allied with terrorist militias who believe that spreading atrocities and committing crimes will bring victory to it, and that war crimes are bearing fruit,” said Al-Jubeir. “In addition to bombing civilians with explosive barrels, the policies of starvation and siege, ethnic and sectarian cleansing, and the demographic change of Syrian cities and towns, its use of chemical weapons have shocked the entire world.”
He said that the only acceptable solution to the Syrian crisis is a peaceful political resolution, and that Saudi Arabia has been working to achieve this since the crisis began, while also working with others to end the continuing human tragedy in the war-torn country.
The Kingdom has played a role in unifying the ranks of the Syrian opposition and encouraging them to speak with one voice, he added. After the Riyadh 1 Conference in 2015, Saudi Arabia hosted the Riyadh 2 conference for the Syrian opposition in November 2017, which succeeded in unifying the factions and establishing a negotiating body to take part in the rounds of talks held since then, earning praise from the United Nations.
The foreign minister also reiterated his country’s support for the efforts of the UN secretary-general’s envoy, Stephan de Mistura, to resume negotiations between all sides of the conflict.
“The Kingdom hopes that the agreements endorsed by the international resolutions on the ceasefire and the delivery of humanitarian aid to its beneficiaries will be implemented throughout Syria, regardless of their ethnic, religious, sectarian or political affiliations, and calls for the speedy release of detainees and abductees and clarifying the situation of those absent,” said Al-Jubeir. “It also renews its demand to punish individuals and institutions for war crimes and to prevent their impunity.”
He added that the worsening humanitarian crisis affecting refugees inside and outside of Syria should add to the urgency of finding a political solution and resuming the negotiating process as soon as possible.
Since the war began, the Kingdom has taken in about two and a half million Syrians and treats them like its own citizens, Al-Jubeir said, providing them with free health care, work and education. Saudi universities and schools have more than 140,000 Syrian students. He added that Saudi Arabia is also supporting and helping to care for of millions of Syrian refugees in Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon, in coordination with the governments of those countries. The humanitarian assistance provided so far totals about $1 billion.