The United States signaled on Wednesday an open-ended military presence in Syria as part of a broader US strategy to prevent Islamic State’s resurgence, pave the way diplomatically for the eventual departure of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and curtail Iran’s influence.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, in a speech at Stanford University, made clear the United States would work diplomatically toward Assad’s exit from power, but called for “patience” - an acknowledgment that Assad has been bolstered by Russia and Iran and is unlikely to leave power immediately.
Tillerson’s urging of patience was the clearest indication yet of Washington’s acknowledgment that Assad’s stronger position in Syria, bolstered by Russia and Iran, meant he would not leave power immediately.
Billed as the Trump administration’s new strategy on Syria, the announcement will prolong the risks and redefine the mission for the US military, which has for years sought to define its operations in Syria along more narrow lines of battling Islamic State and has about 2,000 US ground forces in the country.
While much of the US strategy would focus on diplomatic efforts, Tillerson said:
“But let us be clear: the United States will maintain a military presence in Syria, focused on ensuring ISIS cannot re-emerge,” while acknowledging many Americans’ skepticism of military involvement in conflicts abroad, Tillerson said.
US forces in Syria have already faced direct threats from Syrian and Iranian-backed forces in the country, leading to the shoot-down of Iranian drones and a Syrian jet last year, as well as to tensions with Russia.
Trump administration officials, including Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, had previously disclosed elements of the policy but Tillerson’s speech was meant to formalize and clearly define it.
نستخدم ملفات الكوكيز لنسهل عليك استخدام مواقعنا الإلكترونية ونكيف المحتوى والإعلانات وفقا لمتطلباتك واحتياجاتك الخاصة، لتوفير ميزات وسائل التواصل الاجتماعية ولتحليل حركة المرور لدينا...اعرف أكثر