Washington does not want the Damascus government forces to regain control of northeastern Syria following the upcoming withdrawal of American troops, U.S. special representative to Syria James Jeffrey said at the Munich Security Conference on February 17.
“Our goals in the northeast have not changed. They involve first of all maintaining security in the region, which means we are not at all in favor of the regime coming back in because the regime doesn’t promote stability as we see in other areas,” Sputnik quoted Jeffery as saying.
The US diplomat also noted that Washington is looking to take care of security concerns of Turkey, while making sure that its main proxy in Syria, the Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), is “not mistreated in any new shifting there.”
Jeffery went on to reveal that the U.S. has assured its allies that there will be no “abrupt, rapid withdrawal” from northeastern Syria, rather a “a step-by-step withdrawal.”
“The US policy towards Syria has not changed. First of all, defeating ISIS, secondly a political solution to the conflict in Syria that results through UN action… Thirdly the removal of all foreign forces,” he added.
A day earlier, U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham said that Washington will ask its allies in Europe to commit hundreds of troops to create a safe-zone in northeastern Syria along the Turkish border. He also revealed that President Donald Trump is willing to keep some U.S. forces within the zone, if the European countries agreed to establish it.
Jeffery and Graham’s statements reflect the ongoing efforts in Washington to manipulate Trump’s decision to withdraw all U.S. troops from Syria, which could benefit Damascus and its allies.