Russian President Vladimir Putin says that Syrian President Bashar Assad's fate should be decided by the people in his country.
Putin made the statement Thursday after talks with visiting French President Francois Hollande.
Putin called the Syrian army a "natural ally" of any international coalition fighting the Islamic State group. Putin said he and Hollande agreed to coordinate their military action to avoid striking groups fighting IS.
Putin says Russia is ready to cooperate with the U.S.-led coalition fighting the Islamic State group.
Putin said after talks with Francois Hollande that Russia is open to closer cooperation with both France and the U.S.-led coalition on selecting IS targets.
At the same time, he lashed out at the U.S. over the downing of a Russian warplane by Turkey, saying the U.S. should have prevented its coalition ally Turkey from making such a move.
He said that Russia will hold "serious consultations" with the U.S. over the incident.