Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said Thursday that to eliminate militant group Islamic State, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad must be removed from power.

Assad during his meeting with Vladmir Putin in Moscow Tuesday

Jubeir also said that Assad was the magnet “that attracted foreign fighters from all over the world to fight on the side of Daesh (Islamic State) against Assad’s regime,” he told Al Arabiya al-Hadath television channel in Vienna, after talks with Austria’s foreign minister.

“We discussed the situation in Syria and how to find a peaceful solution for the conflict that guarantees Syria’s future and leads to a transitional period that does not include Bashar al-Assad,” Jubeir said.

US rebukes Russia over Assad visit

Earlier, the White House issued a scathing attack on Russia’s “red carpet” welcome for Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, accusing Moscow of impeding progress towards a political transition by propping up the dictator.

Assad met Vladimir Putin in Moscow on Tuesday and thanked his Russian counterpart for  launching air strikes against his opponents in Syria, with both leaders also agreeing during talks that political steps must follow military operations.

White House deputy press secretary Eric Schultz told journalists the United States viewed “the red carpet welcome for Assad, who has used chemical weapons against his own people, as at odds with the stated goal by the Russians for a political transition in Syria.”

Moscow’s actions in the war-torn Middle-Eastern state were “counterproductive”, he added.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan Thursday changed his view on Ankara attacks and blamed it on Syrian intelligence and Kurdish militants, not just Islamic State.

The bombing killed more than 100 people and it was the worst attack of its kind in Turkey’s modern history.

Turkey sees Syrian, Kurdish hands in Ankara attack 

Erdogan said Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militants, the Syrian “mukhabarat” secret police and the Syrian Kurdish PYD militia had worked together with Islamic State in the bombing on Oct. 10.

Turkish authorities have focused their investigation on a home-grown Islamic State cell, but the government has been more ambiguous about assigning blame, being concerned, its critics say, about how the fallout might impact a general election on Nov. 1.

“This incident shows how terror is implemented collectively. This is a completely collective act of terror and it includes ISIS (Islamic State), PKK, the mukhabarat, and the terrorist group PYD from north of Syria,” Erdogan said.

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