Now Austria and Spain want Assad and Russia to take part in finding ways to put an end to the war.
While on a visit to Tehran, Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz called for a joint approach which will work only if countries like Iran and Russia are involved. "We have to show pragmatic solidarity and involve Assad in the fight against the Islamic State," the diplomat added.
The exodus of refugees from the Middle East and the expansion of the Islamic State show that Russia has to be an intrinsic part of any equation meant to end the Syrian war, asserted Irish journalist Patrick Cockburn, who specializes on the Middle East.
"In handling the Syrian crisis, Russia is bound to be a leading player in stopping Isis because it supplies the weapons to do so and, similarly, in negotiating a peace because Assad must keep in step with Russia if he is to survive," he noted in an opinion piece titled "Only a US-Russian agreement can spur a settlement in Syria."