MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Moscow joining the Western coalition in Syria is only possible if it stands on a level playing field with the United States, Vladimir Dzhabarov, first deputy chairman of Russia's upper house of parliament, said Thursday.
"A broad coalition [in Syria] would be an ideal solution, if there were no flagman represented by one country, like the United States in the current coalition. We must participate on the absolutely equal terms there," Dzhabarov said during a video-link between Russian and Egyptian parliamentarians devoted to the settlement of the Syrian crisis, organized by the Rossiya Segodnya International Information Agency.
He added that the parties to the coalition should not consider the removal of Syrian President Bashar Assad as a workable solution for the nation's conflict.
"It is not viable. We will never agree on this," Dzhabarov stressed.
On Sunday, UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson wrote in an article for The Telegraph newspaper that Moscow should "make a sensible compromise," withdraw its support for Assad and join the US-led international coalition fighting Daesh. He also characterized the Syrian crisis as an opportunity for Russia to develop more productive relations with US President Donald Trump.
The US-led coalition of 68 nations started to carry out airstrikes against Daesh in Syria and Iraq in 2014, with the strikes in Syria not being authorized by the government of President Bashar Assad or the UN Security Council.
Russia has been conducting a counter-terrorist campaign in Syria since September 30, 2015, at Assad's request.