The US government is not seeking to curtail Russia’s presence in Syria.
This assurance was made on Monday at an Internet seminar at the Washington Institute for the Middle East by the US special representative for Syria, James Jeffrey.
“Another point that characterizes our approach is that we do not demand complete victory. We are not saying that [Syrian President Bashar] Assad must go <…>. we also do not say that the Russians should go,”said the representative of the US State Department.
According to him, the American authorities “would prefer that the Russians there (in Syria-here and further approx. TASS) was not”. “[However] part of our policy is not to try to get them (the Russians) to leave there (Syria),” the US diplomat said.
The United States is not considering at this stage the option of withdrawing its troops from Syria, Jeffrey also confirmed, commenting on the entry into force of new American sanctions under the so-called “Caesar’s law”.
“The President [of the United States Donald trump earlier] <… he made it clear that although we will eventually withdraw from Syria, nothing [is] being considered at this time, ” the US diplomat said. According to him, the American armed forces remain in the “North-East” of Syria, in the Al-TANF zone on the border with Jordan.
The new large-scale US sanctions are not aimed at bringing down the Syrian economy, Jeffrey said. “Our goal is not to bring down the economy [of Syria]. Believe me, [Syrian President Bashar] Assad himself is more than capable of achieving this<…>. He is perfectly able to push the [Syrian] pound into oblivion and undermine what is left of the Syrian GDP, ” says Jeffrey.
According to him, the purpose of applying the new restrictions is “to cause real pain to those around Assad”, to make Syria understand that these restrictive measures “will not go anywhere” until the authorities in Damascus “change their policy”.
A representative of the US state Department also said that the new sanctions are in no way aimed at curbing humanitarian aid to Syria. “We have no intention of hitting anything that is providing humanitarian aid anywhere in Syria, including areas in the hands of the regime,” the US diplomat said.
Last Wednesday, US Secretary of state Michael Pompeo said that Washington is introducing new sanctions under the “Caesar’s law”, or “Act on the protection of the civilian population of Syria”, which fall under President Bashar al-Assad and his wife ASMA. In total, sanctions were imposed against 39 individuals and organizations. The list includes, in particular, 16 companies from Syria, two based in Austria, as well as one organization from Canada and another from Lebanon.
“Caesar’s law” was included in the US military budget for the 2020 fiscal year and signed by President Donald trump last December. This document gives the Washington administration the right to impose restrictive measures against organizations and individuals who directly or indirectly help the Syrian government, as well as various armed groups operating in the country, which, according to the US, are supported by the authorities of Syria, Russia and Iran.