Syria ready to combat “terrorism”

Syria is ready to work with the international community, including the United States, to combat “terrorism” within the framework of a UN resolution on extremists, Syria's foreign minister said Monday.

“Syria is ready for cooperation and coordination at the regional and international level to fight terrorism and implement UN Security Council resolution 2170,” Walid Muallem said.

He confirmed, in response to a question, that the country's willingness to do so would extend to cooperating with the United States and Britain.

“They are welcome,” he said.

Muallem added that Syria was willing to participate in such efforts as part of a regional or international coalition, or on the basis of bilateral cooperation.

But, he said, “we must feel that the cooperation is serious and not double standards”.

“Any violation of Syria's sovereignty would be an act of aggression.”

His comments at a news conference in Damascus come as the Islamic State jihadist group makes advances in several parts of Syria, including Raqa province, where it seized the army's last provincial outpost on Sunday.

The United Nations Security Council passed a rare unanimous resolution on August 15 intended to weaken jihadists in Iraq and Syria by choking off their funding and stemming the flow of foreign fighters.

The resolution targeted both the Islamic State and Al-Nusra Front, which is Al-Qaeda's Syrian affiliate, two jihadist groups.

But Syria's government considers all those fighting to oust President Bashar al-Assad to be “terrorists”.