Russia calls for anti-Isis coalition ahead of UN assembly - as long as President Assad can stay

The Russian foreign ministry said Moscow could join a coalition as long as Syria are included in international efforts to combat Isis

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The Independent Online

Moscow could join the US-led coalition fighting Isis in Syria and Iraq if its conditions are met, the Russian government has said.

Ilya Rogachev, a director at the Russian foreign ministry, said the country could join an anti-Isis coalition as long as Syria, its long-time ally, was included in the international efforts to combat Isis.

Moscow has also called for any international military operations in Syria to have a United Nations mandate.

The announcement comes amid growing tension surrounding Moscow’s military engagement in Syria.

An alliance between the West, Russia and powers in Syria could be a U-turn in the military campaign against Isis, which so far has been against the involvement of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

However, Presiden Putin has said he will back President Assad against any international intervention.

At today’s annual United Nations General Assembly in New York both US President Barack Obama and Mr Putin are expected to discuss Syria and the fight against Isis before meeting privately this evening.

Mr Obama is expected to emphasize the need for a political resolution to Syria’s civil war including the ouster of President Assad.

Mr Putin is expected to argue that President Assad’s military is the most capable force for fighting Isis who have key strong holds in Syria and Iraq.

Prime Minister David Cameron has also pressed the case that the Syrian president “can't be part” of a peaceful solution to the civil war.

Russia has recently increasingly deployed more weapons and troops to Syria.

The Kremlin has also attempted to launch a dialogue with Saudi Arabia, which is firmly bent on unseating President Assad, and the Syrian opposition, to try and negotiate a political compromise.

Iraq's military said on Sunday it will begin sharing “security and intelligence” information with Syria, Russia and Iran to help combat the Islamic State group, further complicating US efforts to battle Isis without working with Damascus and its allies.  

Additional reporting by Associated Press

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