Biden victory will not change Syria policy: US envoy

Biden victory will not change Syria policy, US envoy says
3 min read
07 November, 2020
There will be no divergence of US policy regarding Syria, even under a Joe Biden presidency, a US envoy said.
James Jeffrey expects no divergence in US policy regarding Syria [Getty]
There will be "no change" to the American troop presence in Syria, according to ambassador James Jeffrey, the US Special Representative for Syria Engagement and Special Envoy to the International Military Intervention against ISIS. 

The US will not diverge on its position in Syria even under the Biden presidency, including present sanctions and relations with Iranian presence in the war-torn country, Jeffrey told Syria Direct.

His take quell experts who have speculated that if Trump were to win a second term he would pull out more troops from Syrian territory, as he did most recently in October of 2019.

This would also contradict the political line of the Biden campaign, who have heavily criticised the president for this “dangerous” foreign policy. Supporters for the Democrat argued he would be inclined to increase American boots on the ground.

Jeffrey, who holds the highest rank in the foreign service, also stressed that the US position will remain that which relies on solving the conflict in Syria by way of the UN Security Council Resolution, which he said is “absolutely necessary”, according to Syria Direct.

He also seemed confident that Turkish presence in the region would not shift either: “We have seen no sign of a Turkish preparation for a military movement, nor have we seen any actions or provocations or alleged provocations by the Syrian Democratic Forces that would justify any Turkish reaction.”

Jeffrey said his priority was to have a “stable base” in northeast Syria in efforts to combat the presence of the Islamic State militant group.

“And so, for practical purposes, we encourage the Arab and the Kurdish elements of that general coalition to work together, to share power, to work out differences between them, as a practical matter, for a day in and day out stability and facilitation of our operations there,” he said.

“We want to see opposition to Assad as unified as possible.”

The comments just hours before Democrat candidate Joe Biden was confirmed president-elect after beating President Donald Trump in the 2020 US elections.

Jeffrey's future in serving the White House is not clear, as reports have said he is on the way to retire from his post.

“US Special Representative for Syria James Jeffrey has contacted several European and Arab officials and Syrian opposition figures to inform them that this mission was coming to an end,” Saudi Arabian outlet Asharq al-Awsat reported. 

Before this post, Jeffrey was a former US ambassador to Turkey, Iraq and Albania who also served as a deputy national security adviser to President George W. Bush.

Syria's war, which broke out after the brutal suppression of anti-regime protests in 2011, has killed more than 500,000 people and displaced millions.

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