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Obama says no plans to remove Assad

Obama says no for now to regime change in Syria; Dark backs ‘freeze’ in divided Aleppo; Syrian opposition holds its own in south; Israel, Palestinians fear religious war; Is Egypt winning battle against IS-linked group?
U.S. President Barack Obama speaks at a news conference at the end of the G20 Leaders Summit in Brisbane November 16, 2014. Obama said on Sunday that Russia would remain isolated by the international community if President Vladimir Putin continued to violate international law and treaties aimed at ending the conflict in Ukraine. REUTERS/Jason Reed (AUSTRALIA - Tags: POLITICS BUSINESS) - RTR4EB4N

Obama clarifies Assad policy

Speaking to reporters at G-20 summit in Brisbane, Australia on November 16, US President Barack Obama dismissed reports of pending changes in Syria policy, saying “We have not had a comprehensive review of Syria. We’ve had a comprehensive review of what are we doing each and every week” in the military campaign to defeat the Islamic State.

On the role of Assad in the battle with IS and in a political transition in Syria, Obama said “there’s no expectation that we are going to in some ways enter an alliance with Assad. He is not credible in that country. Now, we are looking for a political solution eventually within Syria that is inclusive of all the groups who live there — the Alawite, the Sunni, Christians. And at some point, the people of Syria and the various players involved, as well as the regional players — Turkey, Iran, Assad’s patrons like Russia — are going to have to engage in a political conversation. And it’s the nature of diplomacy in any time, certainly in this situation, where you end up having diplomatic conversations potentially with people that you don’t like and regimes that you don’t like. But we’re not even close to being at that stage yet.”

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