Rebels to Join Syrian Army if 'Opposition Figures Granted Senior Roles'

© AP Photo / Muhammed MuheisenSyrian rebels attend a training session in Maaret Ikhwan, near Idlib, Syria in 2012.
Syrian rebels attend a training session in Maaret Ikhwan, near Idlib, Syria in 2012. - Sputnik International
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The Syrian rebels would partner with President Bashar Assad's government to defeat Daesh (also known as ISIL or the Islamic State) if senior security positions and cabinet posts were granted to independent figures, former US Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford told Sputnik on Friday.

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.

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However, Ford noted, it is also highly unlikely that any major faction of the armed opposition would fight alongside Syrian Army, given the great deal of bloodshed and atrocities.

"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.

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