Biden: US ready to help Syria after Assad falls

December 5, 2011 00:32

The United States and Turkey are reviewing how to help Syria if pro-democracy protests drive President Basher Assad from power, US Vice President Joe Biden said on Sunday, but the two allies have not discussed concrete "next steps".

Washington and Ankara have both called for Assad to go, but both worry it could deepen instability in a region already rocked by the Arab Spring, and as US troops leave Iraq by the end of the month.

Biden, in an interview with reporters traveling with him to Athens from Istanbul, said the collapse of the Assad regime would not necessarily spark a wider regional sectarian conflict, which some see pitting the Sunni-dominated west of neighboring Iraq against Shi'ites in that country and in Iran.

"There was a sense in our discussions that it would be able to be handled without any conflagration going beyond Syria, and that it could be localized to Syria," said Biden, characterizing his meeting with Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday.

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