US State Department: We will remain in Iraq and Syria, will not fight Assad

QAMISHLI, Syria (North Press) – US Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Joey Hood said on Wednesday that President Joe Biden has been very clear that a US military presence will remain in Iraq and Syria.

Hood described, during an interview with the American al-Hurra channel, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) as the United States’ partners in Syria in the war against ISIS, and stressed the continued presence of his country’s forces in Syria and Iraq during the coming period.

“We do not seek to change the regime in Damascus, we seek to change the behavior of the Assad regime. That is why we have imposed Caesar sanctions and we have taken other measures against the regime and its supporters for years, but we are not in Syria to fight Bashar. We are there to fight ISIS.”

In October 2015, the United States deployed its first batch of American special forces soldiers to Syria in the first explicit American intervention since the outbreak of the Syrian war in 2011.

On December 18, 2018, former US President Donald Trump announced the withdrawal of US forces from Syria within a month.  Two weeks later, officials in Washington said Trump had reversed his decision.

On October 7, 2019, the White House announced that US forces had begun withdrawing from Syria, justifying that the Islamic State (ISIS) had been defeated.

The Damascus government considers the American presence on its lands illegitimate, describing it as an occupation, while granting approvals to Russian presence for decades, which has clearly increased after the Syrian war along with an Iranian presence in various forms in the country.


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