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US Brings Assad’s Fate Back to Discussion

US Brings Assad’s Fate Back to Discussion

Friday, 27 October, 2017 - 05:30
A Syrian man receives treatment following a suspected toxic chemical attack Tuesday in Khan Shaykhun, a rebel-held town in Syria's northwestern Idlib province. At least 72 people were killed, including a number of children. Mohamed al-Bakour/AFP

With the defeat of ISIS in eastern Syria, talks about a political deal reemerged with a new development represented by the entry of Washington on the line of negotiations.

After its absence for a long time, the US decided to play a role in the Syrian file by supporting the Geneva talks and “advising” the UN envoy for Syria not to bet on the “Russian solution” and the Hmeimim summit.

Meanwhile, Russia plans to hold a summit at the Hmeimim air base between Nov. 7 and 10.

According to a Kurdish official who received an invitation, the summit plans to discuss five issues: the general situation in Syria, de-escalate tension between the Syrian parties, discuss the Syrian Constitution, form a committee to negotiate future projects, and prepare for a comprehensive summit.

Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson brought Thursday the fate of Bashar Assad’s regime back to discussion.

An Arab official said on Thursday that the US administration has asked to meet with the United Nations Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura in a sign of Washington’s interest to find a political solution in Syria.

“As we’ve said many times before, the United States wants a whole and unified Syria with no role for Bashar Assad in the government,” Tillerson said after meeting the United Nations Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura in Geneva.

The secretary of state added that the reign of the Assad family “is coming to an end, and the only issue is how should that be brought about.”

According to Tillerson, Assad’s rule can be brought about as part of UN Security Council Resolution 2254, which has a very specific prescribed procedure for elections and the development of a new constitution.

He also considered that the only reason behind the Syrian regime’s success in the war is the the Russian government, providing significant air support for Syrian regime forces.

“I don't think that Iran should be given credit for the defeat of ISIS in any way in Syria. Rather, I think they have somewhat taken advantage of the situation with their presence there,” he said.

For his part, de Mistura sails between Moscow and Washington’s positions and the race among their allies to reach a deal in the post-ISIS phase in Syria.

The envoy also hopes that Russia’s efforts to hold a Syrian Summit at the Hmeimim air base would not become a substitute for the Geneva talks and Resolution 2254.

On Thursday, the UN envoy said that he would convene the eighth round of intra-Syrian talks on 28 November in Geneva, urging all stakeholders to seize the opportunity to find a solution to the crisis plaguing the war-torn country.

Briefing the UN Security Council via videoconference, de Mistura said that without an inclusive political process, there is a real threat that ISIS or similar entities could return.

He said that during the upcoming round of talks, he intended to realize a transitional political process that focused on items with prospects of progress, including the process for drafting a new constitution and establishing the requirements for UN‑supervised elections.

Meanwhile, a report received by the UN Security Council on Thursday affirmed that the Syrian government of Assad is to be blamed for a chemical attack on the opposition-held town of Khan Sheikhoun that killed dozens of people last April.

The report from the UN and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons’ Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM) said Assad’s regime was responsible for the release of sarin at Khan Sheikhoun on 4 April 2017.

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