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Secretary Tillerson outlines U.S. main goals to be achieved in Syria

19 January 2018

Syrian foreign ministry lashed out at U.S., saying Washington's military presence in Syria was illegitimate and represented a blatant breach of the worldwide law and an aggression on Syria's national sovereignty. That's a lot. It does appear to stick to the Obama administration's demand that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad leave - yet it also adds in UNSC resolution 2254, passed in late 2015, which called for elections by the middle of past year.

Squeezing Iran will, therefore, be one of the foremost goals of the continued United States troop presence in Syria.

"The United States will maintain a military presence in Syria focused on ensuring Isil can not re-emerge", he said.

"The American military presence on Syrian land is illegitimate and represents a blatant breach of worldwide law and an aggression against national sovereignty", the statement said.

Russia, Syrian government's main global ally, also expressed fears that the U.S.is "pursuing a policy to cut Syria into several pieces".

Secretary of Defense James Mattis.

Tillerson outlined what he described as a new, more engaged Trump administration policy for the war-riven country during an address at the Hoover Institution think tank at Stanford University.

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The US military presence also is necessary to prevent Iran from further strengthening its position in Syria, he said. And Republicans and Democrats in the US have grown anxious that both of Assad's allies are now entrenched in the country, with Iran in particular posing an immediate threat to neighboring Israel.

"We will continue working with allies such as Turkey".

In deciding to keep troops in Syria, Tillerson insisted that Washington is not being dragged into the almost seven-year-long Syrian civil war as a combatant.

Tillerson said free, transparent elections in which the Syrian diaspora participates "will result in the permanent departure of Assad and his family from power". "This process will take time, and we urge patience in the departure of Assad and the establishment of new leadership".

"Responsible change may not come as immediately as some hope for, but rather through an incremental process of constitutional reform and United Nations -supervised elections".

Yildirim says: "The U.S. must eliminate the confusion and change its stance in favor of peace and improving relations with Turkey".

On the "ineffectiveness" of the previous USA efforts to halt the conflict in Syria, Tillerson said Washington will launch "stabilization initiatives" in liberated areas, such as clearing unexploded land mines left behind by the IS, among others.

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Targeted by an American-led coalition, as well as local militias, Islamic State has lost most of the territory it seized in Syria and Iraq in 2014, but it remains a lethal threat. "But it is essential".

It said Syria "does not need a single dollar from the US for reconstruction because this dollar is stained with the blood of the Syrians". United Nations special envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura announced Wednesday that the U.N. would host the Syrian government and opposition for peace talks in Vienna on January 25 and 26.

But it was not immediately clear how or why Moscow would heed Washington's oft-repeated demands.

Laying out the Trump administration's broad strategy for Syria, Mr Tillerson said a quick withdrawal from Syria would give the jihadist group space to regroup after years of defeat on the battlefield.

"It's full of holes like Swiss cheese, but before we just had the holes", said Jeffrey, a fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

Tillerson praised Turkey's role in taking on Islamic State. Part of Turkey's concern is that fighters will create a Kurdish proto-state on the Syria-Turkey border.

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US President Donald Trump was largely critical of his predecessors' military interventions while running as a candidate, but has now committed to an open-ended presence in both Afghanistan, and now Syria.

Secretary Tillerson outlines U.S. main goals to be achieved in Syria