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US Military Campaign in Syria Failed to Weaken Islamic State: Syrian FM

© Sputnik / Valeriy Melnikov / Go to the mediabankSyrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem
Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem - Sputnik International
Despite all efforts by the US-led coalition, the Islamic state is still going strong, stated Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem. Syria demonstrates its readiness to join the struggle against the Islamic State and together with Russia proposes restarting a political process between Damascus and the 'constructive Syrian opposition.'

Fighters from the al-Qaida linked Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) during a parade in Raqqa, Syria. - Sputnik International
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MOSCOW, November 29 (Sputnik), Ekaterina Blinova — Although the US-led coalition has conducted about 300 air strikes in Syria since September, it has evidently failed to weaken the Islamic State, stated Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem.

"All the indications say that (Islamic State) today, after two months of coalition air strikes, is not weaker," Walid al-Moualem emphasized in an interview with the Beirut-based Al Mayadeen TV broadcast, as quoted by Reuters.

Smoke rises from the Syrian city of Kobani, following an airstrike by the US led coalition - Sputnik International
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The Syrian Foreign Minister stressed that the terrorists will not be totally destroyed unless Turkey maintained close control over its borders with Syria.

"If the Security Council and Washington do not force Turkey to control its borders then all of this action will not eliminate (Islamic State)," Moualem said, pointing to the fact that foreign jihadists are entering the country across the Syrian-Turkish border, which stretches over 560 miles. Turkey, however, "has strongly denied accusations it has supported militant Islamists, inadvertently or otherwise, in its enthusiasm to help Syrian rebels topple Assad," the Guardian notes.

Mr. Moualem also underscores that Turkey's initiative to establish a no-fly zone over the northern part of Syria would "mean the de facto partition of Syria," the BBC reports. The Syrian Foreign Minister revealed that Turkey had designs on Syrian territories.

Reuters elaborates that Turkey's plan for a no-fly zone has been reportedly aimed at creating "safe areas in Syria," which would allow Syrian refugees in Turkey to return home. However, the idea "has received a cool reception from its allies," and "a top NATO general said this week the idea was not being considered," the media outlet notes.

Meanwhile the Syrian government expresses its willingness to join the US-led coalition in its struggle against the Islamic State. The United States has rejected Syria's approach, claiming that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has lost his legitimacy, turning a blind eye to the fact that the Syrian leader, supported by the majority of his population, was democratically re-elected in June, 2014.

In his interview with RT TV channel, Moualem stated that as long as the external interference continues, which is represented by the actions of the international coalition and in the flow of terrorists crossing Syrian borders, it would not be possible to establish an internal dialogue between the conflicting sides in Syria.

The minister added that the major problem for Syria now is the conspiracy of the neighboring countries against it, including Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan and others. He stated that external and regional interference in Syrian affairs hindered the de-escalation of the crisis.

Syrian minister explained that this is the reason why Syria’s Russian friends think that internal dialogue in Syria would be more useful than the dialogue held in Geneva before.

Walid al-Moualem has recently discussed Syria's most important issues with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. "After our discussions with the Russian side we agreed that the dialogue will be with the national opposition that is not linked to the outside," Mr. Moualem emphasized as cited by Reuters.

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