The United States warned Russia over its Syria policy and reportedly accused them of violating the terms of a de-confliction agreement by challenging US presence in northeastern Syria. James Jeffrey, US Special Representative for Syria Engagement and Special Envoy to the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, reportedly said that the United States was very worried about the dangerous conflict and urged Russia to change its policies.
US President Donald Trump had earlier announced the decision to withdraw troops from Syria but backtracked after facing severe criticism from Congress, including some Republican leaders. Though the US has kept around 600 troops in northeastern Syria, the vacuum in northwestern Syria has provided Russia with an opportunity to increase its presence.
Speaking at an interactive online press briefing LiveAtState on January 30, James Jeffrey said that he was appalled by the reports of Bashar al-Assad regime’s “unrelenting assault” on Idlib “supported by Russia and Iran”. Jeffrey said that it was a violation of resolution from 2015 and the several ceasefire accords that Russia had agreed to but is now ignoring.
“It indicates that the regime does not want a compromise solution, but rather a military victory,” said the envoy,” said Jeffrey.
“We had a setback temporarily in Syria back in October with the Turkish incursion, but we’re back doing full operations with our local partner, the Syrian Democratic Forces,” he added.
Earlier, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights had condemned the ongoing Syrian crisis with numerous civilian casualties despite the announcement of a ceasefire. Michelle Bachelet said that though the pursuit of a ceasefire is to be encouraged, it has failed to protect the lives of civilians.
“It is deeply distressing that civilians are still being killed on a daily basis in missile strikes from both the air and ground. Women, men and children simply carrying out everyday activities at home, the workplace, in markets and at schools are being killed and maimed in senseless violence.” said that the UN High Commissioner in a statement.
(With inputs from agencies)