Britain rules out working with Syria to tackle Islamic State militants

LONDON Fri Aug 22, 2014 1:50pm BST

Britain's Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond arrives in Downing Street in central London August 20, 2014.    REUTERS/Toby Melville

Britain's Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond arrives in Downing Street in central London August 20, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Toby Melville

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LONDON (Reuters) - Britain on Friday ruled out negotiating with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the battle against the hardline Islamic State (IS) movement that has bases in northern Syria as well as in over one third of Iraq.

With pressure growing for action against the group that beheaded a U.S. journalist this week, Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said the only way to tackle the threat was by working with the Iraqi government which has troops on the ground and that dialogue with Assad would not advance the cause.

"We may very well find that on some occasions we are fighting the same people as he is but that doesn't make us his ally and ... it wouldn't be practical, sensible or helpful to even think about going down that route," Hammond told BBC Radio.

(Reporting by Belinda Goldsmith, Editing by Stephen Addison)

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