The Trump administration is allegedly prepared to accept Assad’s continued rule until Syria’s next scheduled presidential election in 2021, New Yorker magazine reported earlier this week, citing US and European officials. The State Department on Tuesday, however, refuted these reports and said that the United States believes that the future of Syria will not include Assad.
“It’s a bit of a joke to premise… the thesis that it is up to Trump, or the United States, to decide who rules Syria,” former US Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Chas Freeman said on Wednesday. “It seems to me that those who brought Assad his victory against the forces that shed so much blood to dislodge him have decided that.”
Freeman said US policymakers and pundits were deceiving themselves if they imagined that they could choose or significantly influence who would lead Syria in the coming years following the end of the six-year civil war that has killed an estimated 600,000 people.
The conflict in Syria had inflicted unprecedented destruction on the country’s infrastructure and suffering of its people, and generated several million refugees, Freeman added.
“Syria has been maimed, but not slain by the civil war that others, including the United States, fueled on its territory,” Freeman said.
On December 6, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Daesh terrorist group had been defeated on both banks of the Euphrates river in Syria. On Monday, Putin ordered a partial withdrawal of Russian forces from the country, about two years after the Syria campaign started at the request of Assad.