France’s Hollande Says Vladimir Putin Isn’t Ally in Syria

Russian President Vladimir Putin is an ally to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and not the international coalition fighting the Islamic State, French President Francois Hollande said, calling on Putin to join the group.

“Putin right now is not our ally in Syria. He’s Assad’s ally,” Hollande said during an interview on Arte television. “He can be a partner tomorrow and help find a political solution, and strike the Islamic State.”

The main targets of Russia air strikes until now in Syria have not been the Islamic State, Hollande said.

“What matters is to avoid a break up of Syria and a religious war between the Shia supported by Iran, and Russia, and the Sunni supported by the Gulf countries,” Hollande said. “The consequence would be a war, not just in Syria but in the whole region.”

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