The Syrian regime has started to directly court the United States, and the head of its negotiating delegation in Geneva Bashar Al-Jaafari announced that the regime “does not oppose the creation of an international coalition to fight terrorism”. He pointed out that this international coalition must “coordinate with the Syrian government” and added in statements that the international coalition did not succeed in its mission in Syria because it did not coordinate with the regime. He continued by saying “Russia succeeded because it coordinated with us”.
In Washington meanwhile, the US State Department welcomed the success of the Syrian regime’s forces to expel ISIS from Palmyra. The Spokesperson for the United States Department of State John Kirby said that “it’s a good thing that ISIS no longer controls” the city of Palmyra but stressed that welcoming the recapture does not mean that Bashar Al-Assad is able to lead the war against terrorism. He continued by saying “we cannot achieve peace under the leadership of Bashar Al-Assad because he is responsible for the war that led to the rise of ISIS”.
On the other hand, the head of the High Negotiations Committee (HNC) Brigadier Asaad Al-Zoubi told Asharq Al-Awsat that the Syrian opposition observed coordination between the regime’s forces and soldiers of ISIS. He added that there wasn’t any fighting, but that “Palmyra was handed over and received” and that the same process is likely to take place in Deir Ez-Zor.
On the outcome of the Geneva talks, the fate of Assad which was not decided on during the talks, and cooperation between Moscow and Washington, Kirby said that the “US Secretary of State John Kerry is optimistic about the mutual understanding regarding the transition process and ways of implementing it that was achieved at the Geneva talks. We will continue to exploit the momentum that the indirect talks between the regime and the opposition produced and the agreement of both parties on a number of principles”. Kirby stressed that the fact that indirect talks in Geneva continued for two weeks and that both parties agreed on principles is an accomplishment that has not been achieved in the last five years.