Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem recently said that his country would welcome foreign airstrikes against the “Islamic State” (IS, or ISIS) or the Al-Qaeda-affiliated Al-Nusra Front.
The comments were made in an interview which aired Monday on Russia Today TV and was translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).
“We are the people of this land, and we know best what happens in our land. Therefore, I say that the air strikes will not benefit the war on terrorism, unless there is a coordinated military operation on the ground. The United States is making a mockery of the world when it says that it will not coordinate the attack with the Syrian government, but with the moderate opposition,” Muallem said in the interview.
“This is laughable. What moderate opposition?! They are killing Syrians just like ISIS and Jabhat Al-Nusra,” he declared.
“We have said that any violation of Syrian sovereignty would constitute an act of aggression. International law has a clear definition of aggression. But let me tell you that if there are honest intentions to attack ISIS and Jabhat Al-Nusra in Iraq, in Syria, or in both, we will welcome this. But I must tell you honestly that we have our doubts. We are not worried, but we have our doubts about the true intentions of the Americans, the Israelis, the Turks, and the Saudis by forming this coalition,” said the Syrian Foreign Minister.
On Monday night, the U.S., along with its partner nations in the coalition against IS, began launching airstrikes against IS targets in Syria.
In a national address on September 10, President Barack Obama said the first part of his strategy to counter IS was to “conduct a systematic campaign of airstrikes against these terrorists.”
The Middle East has been galvanized since June when Islamic State fighters, already in control of much of Syria, swept through northern Iraq, seizing cities, slaughtering prisoners, and proclaiming a "caliphate" that would rule over all Muslims.