Kerry: Syrian Rebels, Govt Could Cooperate Against ISIS Without Assad’s Ouster

Says Rebels Would Want Assurances That Assad Will 'Eventually Go'

While the US has spent the last several years demanding the immediate removal of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and repeatedly predicted in recent months that Russia would soon come around on the need to remove him from power, it is the US that is starting to show some flexibility on the matter.

Speaking today, Secretary of State John Kerry told a press conference that it was “possible” for the Syrian rebels to team up with the Assad government in fighting ISIS before Assad is actually removed from power, something he’d long dismissed as unthinkable.

Kerry did, however, say it would be “exceedingly difficult” to convince the rebels of this idea without some assurances that Assad “will eventually go,” but also said it’s not clear he has to “go” at all if there were assurances on Syria’s post-war future.

This is the first public comment from a top US officials suggesting Assad doesn’t need to be immediately removed from power, and comes interestingly just a day after Kerry claimed the whole ISIS war would be won “in a matter of months” if Assad was removed.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.