Syria’s Assad must go or face ‘military option,’ Saudi Arabia warns

Saudi Arabia has warned Syrian President Bashar al-Assad that he must either leave office through a political process or be forcibly removed from power.

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir, speaking to reporters in New York, rejected a call from Russian President Vladimir Putin to form an international coalition to help Assad fight the Islamic State (ISIS) group. "There is no future for Assad in Syria, with all due respect to the Russians or anyone else," Jubeir said, as quoted by the AFP news agency.

"There are two options for a settlement in Syria. One option is a political process where there would be a transitional council," he said, as quoted by AFP. "The other option is a military option, which also would end with the removal of Bashar al-Assad from power. This could be a more lengthy process and a more destructive process, but the choice is entirely that of Bashar al-Assad."

Jubeir did not provide specific details of what a military option would look like, but noted that Saudi Arabia has already provided support to rebels in their fight against Assad. "Whatever we may or may not do we're not talking about," he said, according to AFP. "There is a moderate Syrian opposition that is fighting against Bashar al-Assad and this opposition is getting support from a number of countries, and we expect that this support will continue and intensify."

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