Tillerson: The United States Remains in Syria to Help Overthrow Bashar Assad

US to Maintain Open-Ended Military Intervention in Syria: Tillerson

Islamic State now has one foot in the grave and retaining the U.S. military presence in Syria, will soon make them enter with both feet, "said Tilerson".

On Sunday, the USA -led coalition said that the United States was working to form a 30,000-strong border security force, which will be under the command of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a US - backed alliance of Kurds, Arabs, and Assyrians in northern Syria. "But that change will come", he said.

Russia, which, together with Iran, has supported the Syrian regime during the civil war, has deep military and economic interests in Syria and maintains a powerful military presence there.

Similarly, Iranian influence inside Syria through Tehran's use of proxy forces alongside its own military presence remains a reality that must be checked, Tillerson 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".

The secretary of state said the U.S.

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.

"We have ISIS [another acronym for Daesh] still attacking in parts of northwest Syria and along the Euphrates valley, so this is just more training and trying to block ISIS [Daesh] from their escape routes", said Tillerson.

He said the USA expects that the desire for a return to normal life coupled with pressure from the outside "will help rally the Syrian people and individuals within the regime to compel Assad to step aside".

James Jeffrey, a former USA ambassador to Turkey and Iraq who served as a deputy national security adviser to President George W. Bush, said that while Tillerson set down the broad parameters of a first comprehensive US strategy for Syria, he left major questions unanswered.

The Syrian government does not need one dollar from the United States for reconstruction because this dollar is stained with the blood of Syrians, the source said, adding that "the U.S. administration only creates destruction and suffering".

The United Nations Special Envoy for Syria said on Wednesday he had invited the Syrian government and opposition to a special meeting next week in Vienna. But he also urged "patience" for Assad's departure while calling for UN-supervised elections.

Beyond counterterrorism, though, Tillerson outlined a much broader mission for USA forces in Syria than when Trump first entered office with an nearly singular focus on defeating terrorists.

The growing tension between Damascus and Washington came amid the backdrop of the recent decision by Washington to form a 30,000-strong border forces in northeastern Syria. The US has at least 2,000 troops in Syria, according to Pentagon figures released in December. Russian Federation called the plans a plot to dismember Syria and place part of it under US control, and Turkey described the force as a "terror army".

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