Putin says Syria's Assad is ready to share power

Russian president says his Syrian counterpart is ready to hold elections and allow "healthy" opposition to share power.

    Putin says Syrians are not running from the Assad regime but from ISIL [EPA]
    Putin says Syrians are not running from the Assad regime but from ISIL [EPA]

    Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that Syria's Bashar al-Assad is ready to hold snap parliamentary elections and allow a "healthy" opposition to share power.

    The Syrian president "is in agreement with" holding elections for parliament, as well as establishing contacts with the so-called healthy opposition and bringing them into the leadership, Putin told reporters on the sidelines of the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok on Friday.

    "Overall there is an understanding that the unification of forces in the fight against terrorism should proceed in parallel with some sort of political process within Syria," Putin said, according to a Kremlin statement.

    Syria's Assad admits army is struggling for manpower

    "This is primarily an issue of Syria's internal development. We are not imposing anything, but we are ready to promote this internal Syrian dialogue," Putin said.

    Putin did not elaborate on what a "healthy" opposition was supposed to mean.

    Russia has been a close ally of the Syrian government since the Soviet era and has staunchly opposed foreign calls to oust Assad in the effort to restore peace to the country.

    Moscow wants the US-led coalition carrying out air strikes on the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group's positions to coordinate with the Syrian and Iraqi armies and moderate anti-Assad rebel groups on the ground, as well as Kurdish forces.

    Assad's enemies have refused to cooperate with Damascus, fearing that would help legitimise his rule in Syria, where the west and Gulf states say he is part of the problem, not the solution, and must go.

    A flurry of recent high-level diplomatic contacts have so far failed to yield a breakthrough on the key point of contention in the conflict.

    "If it's impossible today to organise joint work directly on the battle field between all those countries interested in fighting terrorism, it's indispensable to at least establish some sort of coordination between them," Putin said.

    Putin told reporters that Syrian refugees were mainly fleeing ISIL, which has gained large swaths of
    Syria and Iraq over the past year.

    "People are running away not from the regime of Bashar al-Assad, but from the Islamic State, which has conquered significant territory in Syria and Iraq," Putin said at the forum.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    The woman who cleans up after 'lonely deaths' in Japan

    The woman who cleans up after 'lonely deaths' in Japan

    When somebody dies lonely and alone, Miyu Kojima steps in to clean their home and organise the mementos of their life.

    Putin and the 'triumph of Christianity' in Russia

    Putin and the 'triumph of Christianity' in Russia

    The rise of the Orthodox Church in Russia appears unstoppable, write filmmakers Glen Ellis and Viktoryia Kolchyna who went to investigate the close ties between the church and Putin.

    The chill effect: Is India's media running scared?

    The chill effect: Is India's media running scared?

    Much of India's media spurns a scoop about the son of PM Modi's right-hand man. Plus, NFL as platform for race politics.