U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Barbara Leaf said they are doing their best to dissuade Turkey from a possible Syria operation, but she doesn’t think Ankara will “back down” from the operation because the U.S. wants to.
A statement came from the U.S. regarding Turkey’s possible operation in Syria.
U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Barbara Leaf spoke with Assistant Secretary of Defense for Middle East Policy Dana Stroul at a hearing on U.S. policy on Syria at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
During the session, the humanitarian situation in Syria, the continuation of the Assad regime’s presence and Turkey’s possible operation against the north of this country to create a safe zone were discussed.
Leaf stated that they are worried about Turkey’s possible Syria operation and that they are negotiating with Turkey to prevent a possible operation, “The Turkish government is very well aware of our views on such an initiative. We had a number of high-level engagements with them. It’s not been a week since I got a job yet. I am looking for an early opportunity to engage with the Turkish government on this issue,” he said.
While claiming that a possible operation by Turkey would also jeopardize the U.S. mission in Syria, the senior U.S. diplomat said, “We are making every effort to get the Turkish government to step back from this operation.”
Asked by a senator if Turkey would back down, Leaf said: “We express our concerns, but at the moment they are not willing to respond not only on this issue but also on other issues. So to be clear, they are not backing down.”
US thinks Turkey will not back down on operation in Syria
Stroul, the U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Middle East Policy, also expressed concern about Turkey’s possible operation in his statements.
“The United States acknowledges Turkey’s legitimate security concerns and regularly communicates to all parties the need to de-escalate. However, any new attack could further undermine regional stability and put U.S. forces and the coalition’s campaign against Daesh at risk.”
“I WAS SHOCKED TO SEE ASSAD BEING WELCOMED BY THE UAE AS A HEAD OF STATE”
The fact that the regime of Bashar al-Assad in Syria has not yet fallen and that it should be re-recognized by some Arab countries was also on the agenda of the panel.
“I have never been sure that Assad will fall. And I know this not because I have a crystal ball, but because the nature of such regimes is that they claim to have fallen last and do not fall easily.”
Noting that he would establish contacts with all U.S. partners in the region to avoid activities that would ascribe legitimacy to the Assad regime, Leaf said, “I was shocked to see Bashar al-Assad welcome as a head of state by the United Arab Emirates (UAE). We have made it clear to the Emirati that this is indeed a tremendous propaganda value and nothing more,” he said.
A PERSON WHO WITNESSED THE MASS KILLINGS OF MY REGIME ATTENDED THE SESSION
At the end of the session, a masked person nicknamed “Mezarcı”, who took part in the burial of those who died of torture in the regime’s prisons while working in the Damascus municipality in Syria, also attended the session.
The Syrian in question recalled that the Syrian nicknamed “Caesar”, who had previously taken pictures of regime detainees, had also shared photos of people being tortured in the congress, adding that the Assad regime was no less cruel than that day.
The Syrian, nicknamed Mezarcı, said: “The Syrian people are no less at risk. How many more times does someone who has witnessed war crimes have to sit in front of you and tell you about the horrors of the Assad regime? I hope that by sharing my story, I can ignite something inside you and perhaps renew hope for the future of Syria.”
In 2011, he was assigned by the regime’s intelligence officers to bury people killed in the regime’s prisons, he said, adding that 300 to 600 dead people were brought to him weekly in pickups.
The faceless Syrian, who said he knew the locations of some mass graves, called on the U.S. Congress to take action against civilians being tortured in the prisons of the Assad regime.