Officially, leaders of the United States, France and Britain refuse to sit down with al-Assad. Their demands still remain the same – they want the Syrian leader to quit his office.
However, as more and more foreign nationals, including those from Western countries, keep joining the ranks of the Islamic State, western governments are coming under pressure from their intelligence services to engage with the Syrian government. Although nothing has been formally stated, there have been reports that Western and Syrian intelligence agencies could have had a series of contacts regarding a potential cooperation.
Some US experts say that there have been signs that the White House might consider abandoning their previous efforts to topple the Syrian leader. Meanwhile, French Senator Francois Zocchetto, who met with al-Assad, was openly supportive of the idea to work with the Syrian government.
“This secular state could disappear tomorrow… because right now there is no longer any moderate Syrian opposition,” Zocchetto said, adding that it is impossible to fight against extremism in France while ignoring the situation in Syria.
The problem with this is that if the West decides to officially support al-Assad and fight against the Islamic State together with the Syrian government, they might lose support of the Syrian Sunni community who seeing that Western leaders now support al-Assad, who is an Alawite, could choose to join the Islamic State in even greater numbers.