WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Earlier on Friday, US Secretary of State John Kerry said Syrian government and rebel forces could cooperate to fight Daesh if the opposition was confident that Assad would eventually step down.
"The only way that I could imagine that significant elements of the Syrian armed opposition would join with Bashar al-Assad's army would be if the leadership of the four Syrian secret police services, and the army, as well as key cabinet posts, were given to mutually-agreed independents or opposition figures," Ford told Sputnik.
"The Syrian armed opposition strongly believes that forces under Assad have killed many times more civilians than has the Islamic State [Daesh]," Ford explained. "This is not to justify the Islamic State, but rather is a perception — likely accurate — of the fighting so far."
"International guarantees about Assad's future good behavior from countries like the United States and Russia will have little weight with the opposition fighters," Ford said.
Ford claimed that it would be quite difficult to convince Assad to relinquish any power that might be required in the joint anti-Daesh efforts with the Syrian rebels.
The United States, its European allies and the Syrian opposition have persistently insisted that Assad resign. By contrast, Russia considers the government of President Assad to be Syria’s legitimate authority.