Saudi Arabia says Syrian President Bashar al-Assad must leave office or face being removed via military intervention.
Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir made the remarks at the UN general assembly in New York on Tuesday following a meeting with his country’s allies.
“There is no future for Assad in Syria,” Jubeir said. “There are two options for a settlement in Syria. One option is a political process where there would be a transitional council. The other option is a military option, which also would end with the removal of Bashar al-Assad from power.”
He noted that a military option would be a lengthier and more destructive process, but the “choice is entirely that of Bashar al-Assad.”
The Saudi foreign minister also admitted that the kingdom and other countries are already backing “moderate rebels” fighting the Damascus government but refrained from commenting on the specifics of a military option.
“Whatever we may or may not do we’re not talking about,” he said.
Saudi Arabia is currently engaged in a military aggression in Yemen, which it launched on March 26 – without a United Nations mandate. According to a report released on September 19 by the Yemen’s Civil Coalition, over 6,000 Yemenis have so far lost their lives in the airstrikes, and a total of nearly 14,000 people have been injured.
Syria has been gripped by deadly violence since 2011. According to the UN, some 250,000 people have been killed in the conflict and millions of others have been displaced.