Thursday, 15 November, 2018

Tillerson Outlines New US Strategy on Syria, No Future with Assad

Tillerson Outlines New US Strategy on Syria, No Future with Assad
Andrew Cummings | 19 January, 2018, 01:55

Over the past few years the US has been actively supporting a multi-ethnic group in Syria called the Syrian Democratic Forces, which is mainly made up of the leftist-nationalist Kurdish force YPG, as part of efforts to fight the Islamic State group.

Tillerson's comments came as Turkey threatened action on the Syrian border against the SDF after the the USA -led coalition said Sunday it was working with the Kurdish-led group to set up a 30,000-strong force that would operate along the borders with Turkey and Iraq, as well as within Syria.

Tillerson discussed the way forward for the United States in Syria at an event at the conservative leaning Hoover Institution at Stanford University.

The PYD/PKK is the Syrian offshoot of the PKK terrorist group, which has been designated a terrorist organization by Turkey, the USA, and the EU.

Mr Tillerson said the experience of the U.S. withdrawal from Iraq in 2011, which was followed by the rise of ISIS and the USA military's return to the region, necessitated an open-ended United States presence in Syria to prevent a revival of ISIS.

Also in 2017 under the Trump presidency the number of civilians killed in bombings by the USA -led coalition in Syria and Iraq more than doubled compared to the previous year, with more than 8,050 deaths recorded in Syria and more than 3,700 in Iraq.

"Continued strategic threats to the USA from not just the Islamic State and Al Qaeda persist, and this threat I am referring to principally is Iran", Tillerson said on Wednesday, adding, "In short, Syria remains a source of severe strategic threats".

In this speech, the US Secretary of State made for the first time a connection between the American presence and the need to bring down Bashar Assad. "A stable, unified, and independent Syria ultimately requires post-Assad leadership in order to be successful".

But Tillerson said he remembers the lessons of Iraq all too well, and that the paramount lesson is that a precipitous withdrawal of USA forces could allow terrorist groups like ISIS to return.

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Tillerson's Twitter deliberation came in response to a question from his predecessor, Condoleezza Rice, who had asked him what he thinks of Trump's social media use.

But Mr Cavusoglu yesterday said Turkey meant to intervene in Syria, adding that it was still distrustful of the US. He called President Assad a brutal murderer of his own people who can never provide long-term stability.

It said Syria "does not need a single dollar from the USA for reconstruction because this dollar is stained with the blood of the Syrians". "In fact, we're already seeing sleeper cells of ISIS, we're already seeing other elements of ISIS trying to reconstitute".

"The Trump administration carries out new strategy for achieving these goals".

Tillerson's plan relies on the United Nations -backed Geneva process aimed at brokering a political solution to the civil war in Syria.

The United Nations Special Envoy for Syria said on Wednesday he had invited the Syrian government and opposition to a special meeting next week in Vienna.

Mr Tillerson on Wednesday denied that the United States had any intention of building the border force, saying the issue had been "misportrayed".

The scheduled talks will occur days before a slated peace congress in Russian Federation aimed at finding a settlement to the civil war that began in March 2011.

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