Personal Liberty Digest™ will be upgraded this weekend to reflect a dynamic new look and mobile-friendly viewing to enhance your experience! Plus, we'll be providing even more of the compelling content you've come to expect, delivered in a whole new way!

  Comments Subscribe to Personal Liberty News Feed Subscribe to Personal Liberty

Embattled Syrian Government Asks For Help Fighting Islamic State

August 25, 2014 by  

Embattled Syrian Government Asks For Help Fighting Islamic State

ISTANBUL (MCT) — One day after losing a major airbase to Islamic extremists, Syria said Monday it was willing to work with other countries to fight terror groups in Syria provided they show respect for the Syrian regime and operate only with its permission.

At least one-third of Syrian territory is said to be in the hands of the radical Islamic State, and the loss of Tabqa airbase Sunday put the entire east Syrian province of Raqqa in the militant’s hands, a severe setback for the regime of President Bashar Assad.

Walid al-Moallem, the Syrian deputy prime minister, told reporters that Syria is willing to cooperate with other countries “as long as this cooperation is approached in a serious manner, without double standards” and does not “weaken Syria.”

Referring to a recent U.N. Security Council resolution, he said: “Cooperation should be carried out through the Syrian government, which is a symbol of national sovereignty,” the official SANA news agency quoted him as saying. But he said the resolution “does not authorize anyone to act alone against any country.”

“Being serious in combating terrorism isn’t achieved by transgressing against others’ sovereignty. It is a achieved through serious political work to dry up its sources and cooperating with the Syrian government, because we know better than anyone else what is happening on our land.”

Al-Moallem’s hedged welcome for international assistance seemed to be directed at the Obama administration, which has bombed Islamic State forces in Iraq and has refused to rule out unilateral operations in Syria.

The administration has said it will not work with the Assad regime. Deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes last week called Assad part of the problem. He referred to the Islamic State by its previous name, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). It also was formerly known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

“We basically think that the reason that ISIL was able to get the safe haven that they established in parts of Syria is because of Assad’s policies,” he told National Public Radio. “His barbarism against his own people created an enormous vacuum. That type of environment of violent conflict and sectarian conflict also attracts people who are drawn into ISIL. So he’s part of the problem.”

Several retired diplomats in the U.S. and Britain have urged the West to overcome its reluctance to work with the Assad regime in order to defeat the Islamic State, which also controls more than half of Iraq.

“It makes no sense for the West to support a war against Assad as well as a war against the Islamic State,” former U.S. ambassadors Ryan Crocker, Thomas Pickering and William Luers wrote in a recent op-ed article. “Assad is evil, but in this case, he is certainly the lesser evil.”

And Malcolm Rifkind, a former British foreign secretary, said Friday that he does not support the Assad regime in principle, but “sometimes you have to develop relationships with people who are extremely nasty in order to get rid of people who are even nastier.”

But former U.S. diplomat Frederic C. Hof dismissed the Assad regime’s stated willingness to attack the Islamic State, including its air strikes against Islamic State targets in eastern Syria, as hypocritical.

“By reportedly conducting airstrikes on ISIS positions in eastern Syria, the Assad regime is begging for readmission to polite society by attacking the very forces whose existence it has facilitated over the years,” he said in an essay Monday for the Atlantic Council think tank, where he is currently a senior fellow.

“Yet it (Syria) is doing so in a selective way that preserves its de facto collaboration with ISIS in western Syria against the nationalist Syrian opposition. … It bombs ISIS targets (as well as civilian water treatment facilities) in the east, perhaps at the behest of Iran, certainly in pursuit of Western appreciation. It shells and bombs Syrian civilians in the west, hoping that its terror tactics combined with ISIS ground assaults can eliminate what is left of the nationalist rebels.”

–Roy Gutman
McClatchy Foreign Staff


(c)2014 McClatchy Washington Bureau

Visit the McClatchy Washington Bureau at

Distributed by MCT Information Services.


Operated jointly by the McClatchy Company and Tribune Company, MCT serves more than 1,200 media clients, online information services and information resellers across the globe. With 600-plus contributors worldwide, MCT has an exceptional variety of sources, providing detailed analyses, opinions and perspectives.

Facebook Conversations

Join the Discussion:
View Comments to “Embattled Syrian Government Asks For Help Fighting Islamic State”

Comment Policy: We encourage an open discussion with a wide range of viewpoints, even extreme ones, but we will not tolerate racism, profanity or slanderous comments toward the author(s) or comment participants. Make your case passionately, but civilly. Please don't stoop to name calling. We use filters for spam protection. If your comment does not appear, it is likely because it violates the above policy or contains links or language typical of spam. We reserve the right to remove comments at our discretion.

Is there news related to personal liberty happening in your area? Contact us at


Sign Up For Personal Liberty Digest™!

PL Badge

Welcome to,
America's #1 Source for Libertarian News!

To join our group of freedom-loving individuals and to get alerts as well as late-breaking conservative news from Personal Liberty Digest™...

Privacy PolicyYou can opt out at any time. We protect your information like a mother hen. We will not sell or rent your email address to anyone for any reason.