Syria said Monday that it would welcome the cooperation of the United States in fighting ISIS, and it suggested that the American journalist beheaded by the militants probably would have been saved if the U.S. had worked with Syria. “If it is confirmed and this military operation did take place and failed, I say if there were prior coordination then the possibility of its failure would have been very low,” Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem said.
The United States tried a secret raid to rescue the journalist, James Foley, in July, but it failed because Foley and other hostages were not where they were expected to be. Moualem, in a news conference, described Syria as “the center of the international coalition to fight Islamic State,” using another name for ISIS.
The United States and Britain supported the uprising against Syrian leader Bashar Assad in a civil war that has killed almost 200,000 people in three years. A White House national security official said last week that Assad is “part of the problem.” Jen Psaki, a State Department spokeswoman, told reporters Monday that “when it comes to defending our own interest, we are not looking for approval of the Syrian regime.”
— Erin McClam with Reuters
First published August 25 2014, 9:14 AM