Syrian Deputy FM Blasts Paris Conference

A senior Syrian official has criticized the international community for excluding his government from the international conference to battle the Islamic State (also known as IS or ISIS) held Monday in France.

Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal al-Miqdad said the Paris gathering was ill-conceived.

“[The] Paris meeting is another activity in the wrong direction. We believe that international cooperation against terrorism should not exclude any effective party. Syria has been fighting against terrorism for the last three years. The so-called Islamic State – ISIS is fighting its war against people in both Iraq and Syria…. Forgetting about Syria or ignoring its role will only contribute to the failure of those, who met in both Paris and Jeddah under the slogan of combating terrorism,” said al-Miqdad, referring to a similar meeting in Saudi Arabia.

President Barack Obama has ruled out working with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad against Islamic State militants.

The United States has been carrying out airstrikes against Islamic State targets inside Iraq, and is working to build an international coalition whose joint efforts would include airstrikes, ground forces, and cutting off funding for the militants.

A senior official has warned Syria not to interfere with U.S. aerial activity, saying the United States could retaliate against Syrian air defense systems.

Obama has authorized airstrikes on Islamic State targets in Syria, but has not yet decided whether to launch them.

In a televised address to the nation last week, he said the United States would lead a relentless effort to destroy IS militants wherever they exist.

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