(CNSNews.com) - President Barack Obama said today that the road to peace in Syria runs through a “transition away from” the current regime led by Bashar al Assad and then democratic elections that he believes can bring into power a “government that can unite the Syrian people against terrorism.”
“Regarding the broader crisis in Syria, President Hollande and I agree that Russia’s strikes against the moderate opposition only bolster the Assad regime, whose brutality has helped to fuel the rise of ISIL,” Obama said in a joint press conference with French President Francois Hollande
“We agree that Russia could play a more constructive role if it were to shift the focus of its strikes to defeating ISIL, said Obama.
“And likewise President Hollande and I agreed that the best way to bring peace to Syria is through the principles reaffirmed in Vienna, which require active Russian support for a ceasefire and a political transition away from Assad to a democratically elected government that can unite the Syrian people against terrorism.”
According to the CIA World Factbook, Syria is 74 percent Sunni Muslim; 13 percent Alawi, Ismaili and Shia; 10 percent Christian (including Orthodox, Uniate and Nestorian), and 3 percent Druze. About 90.3 percent of its population is Arab while the remaining 9.7 percent are Kurdish, Armenian and other ethnicities.
Bashar al Assad is a member of the minority Alawite sect.