Saudi Arabia warns of alternative solutions in Syria

Saudi Arabia warns of alternative solutions in Syria
2 min read
18 May, 2016
Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir believes that alternative solutions, including ramping up military aid to rebels, must be considered given the Assad regime's refusal to adhere to the ceasefire in Syria.
Adel al-Jubeir's remarks come as peace talks in Vienna conclude with no clear breakthrough [Getty]
Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir says it is time to consider "alternatives" in the war in Syria, as the regime "continues to flout" international agreements.

Jubeir's remarks come as the International Syria Support Group [ISSG] meeting in Vienna concluded with no clear breakthrough to ending the Syrian conflict.

"We are considering alternative solutions, including ramping up military aid to rebels if the Assad government continues to violate the ceasefire," Jubeir told reporters.

"We have been thinking we should move towards this alternative plan for a while," he added.

Jubeir also met with US Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on the sidelines to discuss the ongoing crisis.

Kerry and Lavrov said they had agreed to bolster the shaky ceasefire, however, underlying disagreements between Washington and Moscow on how to handle the crisis were apparent.

The United Nations has failed to name a date for renewed peace talks. UN envoy Staffan de Mistura said he could not invite Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime and the Syrian opposition back to peace talks without a "credible" ceasefire.

Kerry said the ISSG had agreed there would be consequences for parties breaching the truce and vowed to maintain pressure on Assad.

But Lavrov restated the Russian position that Assad's army is the best placed local faction to fight the Islamic State group [IS] and that Moscow would support it.

Divisions between Russia and the United States have hampered efforts to agree on a framework under which Syria would "transition" away from Assad's rule.

Meanwhile, human rights monitors said fierce new clashes between the rebel Jaish al-Islam and al-Qaeda-backed factions had left 50 fighters and two civilians dead.

In the past weeks, several hundred civilians have been killed in air raids and rebel bombardments in Aleppo province alone, while fighting has taken place in other parts of Syria, including Idlib, Deir az-Zour and around Damascus.