Syrian president Bashar al-Assad thinks he’s caught a lucky break with the U.S.’s new anti-ISIS campaign and is apparently hoping to be handed a clean slate as an American ally.
President Obama has been harshly critical of the Syrian government, which has been accused of crimes against humanity, throughout his presidency. The U.S. even provided aid to anti-Assad rebels throughout the war. Despite this, though, Syrian deputy foreign minister Faisal Makdad was quick to comment after Obama’s Wednesday address, telling NBC that “we should forget our differences” for the sake of counterterrorism.
“It takes two to tango … We are ready to talk,” he said.
Syrian leadership has previously stated that the expansion of air strikes to Syria without the government’s consent would be taken as aggression.
On Wednesday night, Obama formally introduced his four-point plan, which includes air strikes in both Iraq and Syria, as well as training local forces on the ground. Arab states have also indicated a willingness to help fight ISIS, which has openly expressed interest in expanding its control in the region. Ten states signed a tepid communique promising to help “as appropriate.”