US to keep military presence in Syria

Author : Mircea Birca | Wednesday, January 17, 2018
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imgIn the most comprehensive outlining of US policy stance on Syria, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson vowed the US military will remain to counter threats posed by the so-called Islamic State, al-Qaeda and Iran.

“The US will maintain a military presence in Syria focused on ensuring IS cannot reemerge. Our military presence will remain conditions based. We cannot make the same mistakes that were made in 2011 when a premature departure from Iraq allowed al-Qaeda to survive and morph into IS,” Tillerson said in an address at Stanford University in California on Wednesday.

He indicated that the US forces will remain for the foreseeable future.

The IS currently has “one foot in the grave” and by maintaining US presence in Syria, it will “soon have two,” he explained.

The military presence would be in addition to an unspecified number of US diplomats working with United Nations partners, and civil society organizations on “stabilization initiatives in liberated areas”, including clearing landmines, reopening hospitals, restoring water and electricity and getting children back in school.

“Stabilization is not a synonym for open-ended nation-building or a synonym for reconstruction” but it is essential for a post-Assad political settlement, Tillerson said.

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