„The Islamic State group [IS] is not the ‚prime concern‘ of the Syrian regime Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem has reportedly admitted, saying that rebel groups – who are also fighting the jihadis – pose more of a threat to Damascus‘ rule. Muallem made the remarks during a meeting in Baghdad this week with Iraq‘s Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi to discuss securing their common border, large parts of which are controlled by IS. (…) ‚We have battles more important than the battle with IS,‘ the source quoted the foreign minister as saying.
This week, opposition fighters seized several areas in a rapid advance against government forces in the central Syrian province of Hama, prompting a wave of regime air raids. Researcher at the Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies, Marwan Kabalan, told The New Arab that the regime has long prioritised targeting rebel groups over IS. ‚Their goal is to get rid the armed opposition that the world could accept as a partner in a future political settlement agreement to end the war. IS could never fit that role and therefore is not their main interest,‘ Kabalan said. ‚The regime uses IS’ presence on the ground to justify it remaining in power. If IS were defeated it would mean having to come to a political solution with the rebels.‘“
(Bericht auf The New Arab: „Syrian foreign minister: ‚Fighting IS not our prime concern‘“)