Syria's Assad says British airstrikes against IS will fail

Syria's Assad says British airstrikes against IS will fail
UK airstrikes on Islamic State targets in Syria will fail to defeat the group, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said, mocking British Prime Minister David Cameron's strategy in the region.
2 min read
06 December, 2015
Assad says that only Russian airstrikes have worked against IS [Getty]

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has said that British airstrikes in Syria against the Islamic State group are illegal and doomed to fail.

In an interview with Britain's Sunday Times newspaperAssad said that the Islamic State group [IS] cannot be defeated with airstrikes alone, unless there is coordination with forces on the ground, adding that Cameron's strategy would make the situation worse, not better.

British warplanes carried out their second round of airstrikes in Syria on Saturday, since MPs voted to extend Britain's bombing campaign.

     This is a new episode in a long series of David Cameron's classical farce...
- Bashar al-Assad

Royal Air Force [RAF] planes based in Cyprus carried out eight strikes, focusing on IS targets in the Omar oil field in eastern Syria, 30 miles (48 kilometres) from the Iraq border.

"They are going to fail again," Assad said.

"You cannot cut out part of the cancer. You have to extract it. This kind of operation is like cutting out part of the cancer. That will make it spread in the body faster."

The Syrian leader ridiculed Cameron's assertion that there are as many as 70,000 Western-backed opposition fighters in Syria who would open a political solution to the civil war and could retake territory from extremists weakened by the airstrikes.

"This is a new episode in a long series of David Cameron's classical farce ... where are they? Where are the 70,000 moderates he is talking about? There is no 70,000. There is no 7,000."

Cameron opposes Assad's government in Syria, where the more than four-year civil war has forced millions of refugees to flee the country.

In 2013 Cameron failed to win parliamentary approval for airstrikes on Assad's forces.

But on Thursday, MPs voted to authorise air attacks against IS targets, and hours later British warplanes began launching airstrikes in Syria.

Assad, however, has said the only airstrikes that have worked against IS are those carried out by Russia, which is cooperating with Syrian government forces.