At the high-level State Department meeting in Washington this week, diplomats from 35 nations and international organisations expressed confusion over the Trump administration’s policy in northeast Syria.
American officials have claimed US military authority over Syrian oil fields saying that American forces are acting under the premise of “protecting Americans from terrorist activity”.
But at least one foreign diplomat told the New York Times that there was a loss of clear strategy by the United States in Syria, while another accurately predicted that the high-level talks would not persuade allies to join in the latest neocon plan to occupy Syria.
“It’s quite clear that the president has been convinced to retain troops on the only basis that might have been of interest to him — the existence of oil,” said Charles R. Lister, a senior fellow at the Middle East Institute. “But the much bigger US government apparatus is trying to use that as a cover to form a more meaningful, less ambiguous and more sustainable strategy focused on countering terrorism while reasserting leverage over Damascus.”
The Americans seemingly hope to use terrorists to achieve “regime change” in Syria once more.
In an interview given to Russia24 and Rossiya Sevodnya, Syrian President Assad confirmed that under the pretext of protecting the oil fields, the Americans have been using such proxy forces.
He said ISIS was created by American will and carried out its activities under an American cover. “We are convinced, and we have information, that America has used ISIS as a military tool to strike at the Syrian Army and to distract the military forces fighting terrorism, at the forefront of which is Syria.”
Assad has stressed that nobody believes that Turkey will repatriate the 3 million Syrian refugees to the northeast of the country. He said it was a deceptive humanitarian slogan raised by the Turkish regime to create an ethnic conflict in this area and to bring the terrorists and their families into this region in order to create a new extremist community in line with the vision sought by President Erdogan.
“I have always said that an occupier cannot occupy a piece of land without having agents in that country, because it would be difficult for them to live in a completely hostile environment.”
He added: “America cannot believe that it will live comfortably in any area it occupies. We remind them of Iraq and Afghanistan, and Syria will not be an exception.”
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was even more succinct, suggesting that Washington was still supporting terrorists: “I have reasons to believe, based on the real examples of the past years, that the United States still supports al-Nusra in spite of the fact that this organisation has been listed in the United States as terrorist.
“They see al-Nusra as a counterbalance against the Syrian Government. It’s another mistake, after they were banking on the mujahideen, who organised the September 11 terrorist attack. After they did what they did in Iraq and ISIS was born. And now they are grooming al-Nusra in the illusionary expectation that they will be able to control them. It’s an illusion.”
President Vladimir Putin, reminded the US administration that the American presence in Syria was illegitimate because “those armed units are stationed there not on the invitation of the Syrian government or in the framework of a UN Security Council resolution. This military presence is illegal,” he said.
Major oil companies may not want to be involved in a mission which is illegal both in terms of US as well as international law. Despite that, new bases are being built by the US army near the Syrian oilfields.
According to President Assad, the American plan of occupying northern Syria is connected to the Turkish one. He explained that the Turkish incursion was meant to complicate the situation in Syria, and consequently delay the solution of unifying the nation that Syrians felt were approaching.
He said the German proposal, which was to internationalise the region, and consequently impose international protection, was ultimately also designed by the American leadership. German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier had proposed a similar solution serving US interests in Ukraine.
“Here is the significance of the positive Russian role, which outmanoeuvred these plans and neutralised the Kurdish pretext, in order to prepare the ground for Turkey’s withdrawal,” the Syrian president noted.