- - Friday, November 27, 2015

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius stated Friday that Syrian government troops could be used in the fight against the Islamic State after French President Hollande met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow. Mr. Hollande secured a commitment from Russia to share intelligence and join France’s coalition to combat and defeat ISIS. Mr. Fabius conditioned the comment, saying that Syrian regime forces could only join the coalition after a political transition where Bashar Assad is removed from power.

The Guardian reports, “Troops on the ground cannot be ours, but [there can be] Syrian soldiers from the Free Syrian Army, Sunni Arab states, and why not regime troops,” Mr. Fabius told RTL radio.

“What we agreed, and this is important, is to strike only terrorists and Daesh and to not strike forces that are fighting terrorism,” Mr. Hollande said at a joint news conference with Mr. Putin on Thursday. “We will exchange information about whom to hit and whom not to hit.”

In one area of agreement, Messrs. Putin and Hollande stated Russia and France would coordinate on targeting ISIS fuel trucks transporting oil, where the Islamic State obtains most of its revenue. American forces have also started targeting oil facilities in the region after avoiding destroying these targets due to environmental and collateral damage concerns. Many analysts have wondered why the United States took so long to remove this important source of financing from the Islamic State, and the situation has given ammunition to critics of the administration saying that President Obama never really was serious about destroying or containing the terrorists.


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