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Russia Urges West To Drop Demand About Assad's Fate

Russia says the West should drop its demands about the political exit of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad if it wants a genuinely international coalition against the Islamic State (IS) militant group.

"There are no longer any doubts that it is simply unacceptable to put forward any preconditions for joining forces in the fight against terror," Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on November 18.

Lavrov said there has been a change in the West's position since last week’s deadly attacks in Paris and the bombing of a Russian plane over Egypt in October. IS militants have claimed responsibility for both attacks.

"I hope the change in the position of our Western colleagues...will spread to other Western partners,” Lavrov said.

The United States and its allies want Assad to step aside during or at the end of a transition period, while Moscow says only the Syrian people should decide if he steps down.

Based on reporting by AFP and Reuters