Amid Escalating ISIS Threat In Syria, President Assad Swears In New Government

  @ErinBancoe.banco@ibtimes.com on August 31 2014 4:30 PM
Assad
Syria's president Bashar Assad gestures during an interview with French daily Le Figaro in Damascus in this handout distributed by Syria's national news agency SANA on September 2, 2013. Reuters

Syrian President Bashsar Assad swore in his new government in Damascus Sunday amid an increasingly violent uprising from the Islamic State, formerly known as ISIS, in the areas north of Aleppo. The new government will take office as the death toll of the 3-year-old war death toll surpasses 190,000.

Assad asked the new government to "provide a new vision," according to the state news agency SANA, and to avoid the "negatives of the previous stage." He said acceptance of the new government would come from "earning the trust of citizens through transparency and credibility."

Assad won a third term at the beginning of June in an election that was widely condemned by the international community and called a "sham." Assad won the vote with 88.7 percent, which gave him a third seven-year term in office. 

The election was the first in the country's history to have more than one candidate on the ballot. Hassan Al-Nouri and Maher Hajjar won 4.3 percent and 3.2 percent, respectively. The Supreme Constitutional Court said voter turnout was 73.42 percent.

Assad Sunday vowed to focus on reconstruction in secure areas. But reconstruction is most likely not set to begin in the weeks ahead as the regime is devising a plan to fight Islamic State militants. Syria's Foriegn Minister Walid Muallem said last week Syria was ready to work with the international community to find a solution to the ISIS problem, but said all plans should flow through Damascus first. President Obama said in a statement last week, however, the U.S. would not work with the Assad government to fight the Sunni militant group. 

The U.S. has already begun targeting ISIS in Iraq with airstrikes, but White House officials said they are working on building an international coalition to confront the ISIS problem in Syria. In a speech last week Obama said the U.S. will rely on its Sunni partners in the region for help. 

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