21:10 GMT +321 January 2019
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    Syrian President Bashar al-Assad giving an interview. File photo

    US Wants Russia to Help Anti-ISIL Coalition, Not Bashar Assad

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    Russia should help the US-led coalition against the Islamic State rather than assist the government of Bashar Assad in Syria, White House spokesperson Josh Earnest said during a press briefing on Tuesday.

    WASHINGOTON (Sputnik) — Earnest’s remarks come as Russia has confirmed it is assisting the Syrian government in its effort to combat Islamic State terrorists.

    "Russia's decision to double down on Assad is a losing bet," Earnest said. "What we would rather see is the Russians offer up some kind of constructive cooperation with the 60 member anti-ISIL [Islamic State] coalition that's built by the United States and focused on degrading and ultimately destroying ISIL [Islamic State]."

    Meanwhile, US media have reported that Russia is allegedly setting up an airbase in Syria and is sending in tanks.

    "The Russians indicate that they share that goal [to fight the Islamic State] and we would like to see them work cooperatively with the rest of the international community to advance it," Earnest said.

    Earlier in the week, Syria's Ambassador to Russia Riyad Haddad dismissed media reports claiming that Russian troops were fighting alongside the Syrian Army.

    Since the beginning of the Syrian civil war in 2011, the United States has supported the overthrow of the Assad government, while Russia has recognized Assad as the legitimate Syrian authority.


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    Daesh, Josh Earnest, Bashar al-Assad, Russia, Syria, United States
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