The strikes of the coalition led by the United States on locations of extremist Islamic organizations in Syria has not decreases Washington's determination to punish Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for his use of chemical weapons, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry insisted.
America has taken into consideration that Assad has never completed the destruction of his chemical weapons stock, and insists that any political compromise requires the departure of Assad.
These points were the main subject of the 40-minute meeting between Kerry and his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in New York on the sideline of United Nations 69th annual general assembly.
Prominent American sources, in a press conferance, summarized the last developments of the American position towards the situation in Syria, explaining that "even when America attacks IS, we still believe that stability in Syria comes through a political transition, according to which Assad leaves power for a governing body consists of all opposition forces".
"As long as we have a dictator who terrifies his people, it will be difficult to reach the necessary political compromise in order to achieve stability in that country. That is why we train and arm the Syrian opposition, it is not only to be able to fight IS, but also to fight Assad, and Russians know that, as we have been discussing this matter with them for a while," the sources said.
In his discussions with Lavrov, Kerry encouraged the Russian minister to give up Assad "because he has no future in Syria or in the region, and Russia has no interest in holding on to him". Kerry also encouraged Lavrov to support a new meeting in Geneva dedicated to the formation of a transitional government to replace Assad.
The foreign ministers also discussed Assad's use of chemical weapons, especially chlorine, against the rebels and civilians.The use of chlorine is not forbidden in industries, but its military use is prohibited.
Kerry stressed that Assad has to execute the U.N. resolution, including shutting down the rest of his chemical facilities. Kerry explained to Lavrov that the international resolution asked Syria to destroy these facilities, not only to shut them down, and Assad has to be committed to the resolution, "otherwise he would be held responsible".
The same senior sources commented on the meeting between the two foreign ministers, saying "Lavrov was listening, he didn’t oppose as usual, but he wasn’t positive enough, except when he said that Assad will commit to Security Council's resolution about destroying his chemical weapons and the facilities to produce them".
"The Russians know that the situation in Syria develops rapidly and that the international coalition will work to reach a comprehensive solution in Syria – not only by fighting terrorism, but also through reaching a state of stability. Maybe Moscow should think of a new policy to follow towards Syria and Assad, a policy different from the one it followed throughout the last three years," the sources concluded.
Translated and edited by The Syrian Observer