Russian President Vladimir Putin says it was a huge mistake not to cooperate with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's military in the fight against Islamic State. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) STORY: Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Monday (September 28) it was a huge mistake not to cooperate with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's military, which he said was the only force truly fighting Islamic State militants in Syria. "We think it is an enormous mistake to refuse to cooperate with the Syrian government and its armed forces who are valiantly fighting terrorism face to face," Putin told the U.N. General Assembly. "We should finally acknowledge that no one but President Assad's armed forces and (Kurdish) militia are truly fighting the Islamic State and other terrorist organizations in Syria," he said. The statement is in direct opposition to the view held by the United States. President Obama and his administration have repeatedly said that Assad must step down to end the conflict in Syria. Putin is scheduled to meet with Obama later on Monday on the sidelines of the gathering, for talks that could provide some hint on how it might be possible to end a conflict that has defied years of diplomatic efforts.