Ford: Al-Assad lost his best chance since 2012

The former US ambassador to Syria and Algeria and the researcher at the Middle East Institute in Washington, Robert Ford, said that the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad lost the best opportunity since 2012 after he refused to recognize the Kurds in Syria and deploy his soldiers on the border with Turkey.


This came in an article in al-Sharq al-Awsat newspaper, written by Robert Ford about the US policy in Syria and the recent decision to keep 400 US troops in Syria.

Ford noted that the US policy in Syria is in chaos. He said, "Last December, the administration of the President Donald Trump announced that it would withdraw its troops from east Syria during forty days, and then the 40 days was turned into four months." Last week, Trump's administration changed its decision and announced that it would leave in east Syria 200 soldiers. Two days later, the number has risen to 400."

He stressed that intensive negotiations are under way in Washington between the White House which wants to withdraw from Syria and officials in the Ministries of Defense and Foreign Affairs, as well as with members of Republicans and Democrats in Congress and strategic foreign policy centers, all urge the retention of US forces inside Syria.

Ford points out that these negotiations have failed to reach a consensus on what the US national interest in Syria is.

Ford said that 400 soldiers in Syria and the aircraft of the US Air Force hovering in the Syrian airspace have many tasks. According to Ford, "Iran must not use the road from Iraq near al-Tanf, even inside Damascus to assist Israel in this regard, and they must also prevent the return of IS organization to east Syria."

"There is a strong emotional connection between the Americans and their Kurdish allies," Ford said, adding that the Americans still hope that Turkey would accept local autonomous rule for Syria's Kurds, but they cannot say this directly to Ankara."

The former US ambassador to Syria said that among those who trusted the word of "Trump" and now have just lost a lot at least in the short term is the president of the Syrian regime Bashar al-Assad. The Syrian president was confident that Trump would withdraw his troops, rejecting Russia's offer to make concessions on local Kurdish autonomous rule in return for Kurds agreeing to deploy troops in areas east of Syria and along the border.

Now, because of the new decision from Washington, al-Assad has lost his best chance since 2012 to regain control of Syria's eastern border. Al-Assad will have to wait "for a certain period" before he gets his next chance to reach an agreement with the Kurdish administration.

In his article, Ford points out that Europeans may accept the US demand and send some troops to northern Syria. Even if they send troops, no one in Washington, London, or Paris knows what the long-term solution is in Syria.



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