G20 leaders discuss Assad's fate
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s fate topped the agenda at the G20 leaders meeting late on Sunday.
BELEK, Turkey - The leaders of the Group of 20 discussed Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's fate at a meeting late on Sunday when they talk about the conflict in Syria and the fight against terrorism, Kremlin's sherpa to the G20 said.
"I think this will happen now," Svetlana Lukash told journalists on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Turkey's coastal province of Antalya, when asked whether Assad's future would be discussed.
"Now begins a working dinner of the G20 leaders on terrorism and refugees, and it is planned to discuss joint action and approaches and also to discuss the draft of a joint statement on terrorism," she said.
Meanwhile, Al-Assad on Saturday condemned Friday's deadly attacks by Islamic State in Paris but said the West's "flawed" policies in Syria, especially that of France, was partly to blame.
Islamic State has claimed responsibility for a coordinated assault by gunmen and bombers that killed 127 people at locations across Paris. President Francois Hollande said amounted to an act of war against France.
France launched air strikes against Islamic State in Syria in September, saying it wanted to prevent the group from carrying out attacks against French interests and protect Syrian civilians.
"The flawed policies pursued by Western countries and especially France as regards what is happening in our region ... contributed to the spread of terrorism," Assad was quoted as saying on Syrian state media.
"What France suffered from savage terror is what the Syrian people have been enduring," he said. Assad met with a French delegation on Saturday, state media reported, though this appeared to be unconnected to Friday's attacks. The report gave no further details.
Assad has long warned that Western countries would end up paying dearly for aiding rebels who have been fighting him in a campaign to topple his government since 2011.
But Assad's opponents blame him for fuelling Islamist militancy with his war against the rebels in which hundreds of thousands of civilians have been killed.
French warplanes pounded Islamic State positions in Syria on Sunday as police in Europe widened their investigations into coordinated attacks in Paris that killed more than 130 people.
Islamic State has claimed responsibility for Friday's suicide bombings and shootings, which have re-ignited a row over Europe's refugee crisis and drawn calls to block a huge influx of Muslim asylum-seekers.
French police have launched an international hunt for a Belgian-born man they believe helped organize the assaults with two of his brothers.
One of the brothers died in the attacks, while the second one is under arrest in Belgium, a judicial source said.
A further two French suicide attackers have been identified, police said, while the identity of four other assailants, who all died in the violence, was still under review.