Tillerson: US military not leaving Syria

Over the past few years the USA has been actively supporting a multi-ethnic group in Syria called the Syrian Democratic Forces, which is mainly made up of the leftist-nationalist Kurdish force YPG, as part of efforts to fight the Islamic State group.

The United States has around 2,000 military personnel in Syria, deployed as part of the USA -led coalition's campaign against Islamic State.

Mr. Tillerson made the remarks at an event hosted by the Hoover Institution and the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford University...

"Assad is corrupt and harboring a countless number of terrorist groups. ISIS presently has one foot in the grave and by maintaining an American military presence in Syria until the full and complete defeat of ISIS is achieved, it will soon have two".

Tillerson said remaining in Syria would help ensure that the Trump administration does not repeat what he called the mistakes of former President Barack Obama.

The Virginia senator, who has tried for years to get his colleagues to debate and vote on authorizing the war against ISIS, spoke a day after Tillerson laid out plans for an open-ended US deployment in Syria with goals far beyond taking out the so-called Islamic State.

Troops backing Assad recently have said they want the U.S. presence in Syria to end, according to Syria's state-run news agency. "A stable, unified, and independent Syria ultimately requires post-Assad leadership in order to be successful".

Earlier in the day, Tillerson had said the USA would continue to work with Turkey and consider Ankara's concerns about the PKK.

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Stressing that the USA presence in Syria is illegitimate, the ministry said Syria would fight against all terror groups in Syria as well as any illegitimate foreign existence in the country.

"A murderer of his own people can not generate the trust required for long-term stability".

More immediate, Tillerson called for Russian Federation to continue working with the US on a "de-escalation" area in southwest Syria and stick to commitments to a United Nations -led peace process.

Trump administration officials, including Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, had previously disclosed elements of the policy but Tillerson's speech was meant to formalize and clearly define it.

De Mistura announced earlier Wednesday that the United Nations had invited the Syrian government and opposition to a new round of peace talks in Vienna next week.

Mr Tillerson on Wednesday denied that the U.S. had any intention of building the border force, saying the issue had been "misportrayed".

"The special envoy looks forward to the participation of both delegations in this special meeting".

"He expects that delegations will be coming to Vienna prepared for substantive engagement with him and his team,"?de Mistura's office in Geneva said in a statement.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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