James Jeffrey: We are trying to establish a buffer zone that local troops will oversee

"We have never talked about withdrawing our air forces from Syria, we are trying to play a conciliatory role, convincing (SDF) and Turkey not to escalate, and establishing a buffer zone that we have not yet defined, and will be controlled by the local forces," James Jeffrey told the US Congress.

In an opening session of a congressional hearing today, in the presence of US envoy to Syria, Ambassador James Jeffrey, assured the lawmakers  that the US strategy in Syria is in no way inconsistent with their calls for an American role in Syria that will contribute to stability. "We believe that this conflict must be resolved,"

He added"Washington does not believe in a solution that Assad continues to kill his people. After all the Russian aid, only 60 percent of Syria has recovered, and nearly half of his people are still refugees, or 11 million Syrians who have fled their country."

In response to a question asked by Congressman Elliot Engel, about the Syrian Democratic Forces, Mazloum Kubani, on the concern of the people of northern Syria about the US withdrawal, Jeffrey said that the announcement of the withdrawal was wrongly understood: "Since February things have changed and we will keep some of our forces , but if we look at the declaration of withdrawal from the beginning, we must say that we have not lost our credibility and that we are in a good position with our allies in SDF. "

"The president was clear in his declaration that he would withdraw combat troops on the ground after the defeat of Daesh, and that the shape of the forces' functions would change. The president thought some of our other NATO allies would replace us, but this did not happen."

"We never talked about withdrawing our air forces from Syria. We never said we would withdraw the air force protecting the northeast. President Trump when he visited Iraq suddenly said we will continue to use regional forces to maintain stability in the relationship with the Kurds," Jeffrey said.

"We are trying to play a compromising role and convince Turkey and SDF not to escalate," said Jeffrey. "We take into account the Turks' concern, but we will also safeguard the security of our allies."

"We are trying to establish a buffer zone that we have not yet defined, but the local forces will be in charge of it. Turkey will have control points and America will have a role," Jeffrey said.

As for America's objectives in Syria, Jeffrey said: "Now we have almost five armed groups active in Syria (Turkey, Russia, America and Damascus) and Israel.

He said: "The objectives of America are to defeat Daesh and not to allow it to return, and to remove the Iranian forces from Syrian territory and to push for a political solution as we want from each side to support them to bear their responsibility in partnership with us in these goals, especially fighting Daesh and and prevent Iran from having  gains in Syria."

Jeffrey said Pompeo had a "fruitful" meeting with Putin and positions on Syria were "closer than ever."

 "We are cooperating with the entire international community to continue applying pressure on the Assad regime," he said.

On Idlib James Jeffrey: Turkish-Russian cooperation led to this battle, and Washington is trying to help civilians in the tragedy of war.

On reports of a chemical attack in Idlib, Jeffrey said the United States was unable to confirm the incident.

Source: NPA



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