​​​​​​​Jeffrey: AA established by people to manage areas liberated from terrorism

The American envoy to Syria, James Jeffrey, confirmed that the Autonomous Administration in North and East Syria was established by the people to fight ISIS and then administer their areas, and indicated that the Syrian regime is weak but will not collapse. He expected that Russia will push al-Assad to sit at the negotiating table.

James Jeffrey held a press conference on the Syrian developments, and at the beginning of his speech, he touched on Bashar al-Assad's recent speech, saying: "As usual, we do not believe what al-Assad says in his speeches, but I think that Damascus is aware of the fact that the political process has the absolute support of the international community, and it is better to start dealing with it."

He added: "Al- Assad regime has changed its stance at least tactically towards this entire operation, or the Russians have succeeded in pressuring him to do so."

"The Autonomous Administration was established by the people"

As for the situation in northern and eastern Syria, Jeffrey explained: "The Autonomous Administration is not made by the United States, but was established by the people of northern and eastern Syria to manage the lands that ISIS attacked and that al-Assad regime abandoned. We are looking for ways to ensure that the Constitutional Committee reflects the will of all Syrian citizens, including those in north and east Syria."

"The Iraqi Security Forces and the Syrian Democratic Forces are doing a good job"

Regarding the war on ISIS mercenaries, the US envoy said: "We believe that the Iraqi Security Forces and the Syrian Democratic Forces are doing with the help of the International Coalition a very good job preserving the successes we have achieved, defeating the so-called caliphate, and seizing all of their lands whose area is 100,000 km2, which protected the people from ISIS attacks, as the attacks that we have seen indicate a very low level of local terrorism."

He added: "As for the operations carried out by the regime and Russia in the south and west of the Euphrates against ISIS, these operations have proven their failure and have not been successful, as ISIS members move freely in those areas, and this is a source of concern for us."

"The situation is stable in north and east Syria and will continue"

Regarding the situation in the region, he said: "We have a deal with the Turks, we have a close working relationship with the Syrian Democratic Forces. This cooperation is very successful and will continue. We have non-collision agreements with the Russians. The situation is generally stable and we expect it to continue so."

"We have not seen progress in the Constitutional Committee"

On the Constitutional Committee, Jeffrey said: "It must take serious steps regarding changing the constitution, and not in the discussion of the primary principles that the regime is trying to focus on, such as sovereignty and the fight against terrorists, as we have not witnessed over the past year any serious progress in this committee, so changing the constitution is the real thing that we want to see."

"The Syrian regime is weak, but we do not want it to collapse"

Regarding Caesar Act and its impact on the Syrian government, Jeffrey said: "The Syrian regime is very weak, and I do not expect it to collapse, we do not want it to collapse, but rather we want it to change its behavior, as Iran's creation of a Shiite crescent has affected Syria significantly, and the situation in Lebanon has affected Syria as well."

He added: "Al-Assad was frank in his recent speech regarding the weakness of his economy, the weakness of his local currency and the catastrophic situation in Syria, and he also did not achieve any significant diplomatic gains, regardless of the signals he received from various countries about the return of relations, but the majority of countries linked the return of relations with the regime to the recent commitment to Resolution 2254. Our sanctions and the European Union sanctions are still in effect."

"We expect Russia to put pressure on al-Assad"

Jeffrey touched on the Russian role, saying: "We expect Russia to put pressure on al-Assad to sit at the negotiating table. We have frequent contacts with the Russians and we believe that the limited flexibility shown by the regime in allowing the constitutional committee to meet is a sign that the Russians are using persuasion effectively, or it may be called "pressure." Whatever it is called, we urge them to use more of this method."

He added: "We do not believe that Russia has taken a strategic decision so far to move entirely from the military solution to the political solution."

"I am not planning to leave my position"

Regarding media reports that spoke about his departure from his post, Jeffrey revealed: "I have no intention to resign. I have seen these reports, and this is not my plan. I am busy scheduling travels and visits starting from Geneva, and doing my work."

D.H


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