Washington and its Allies Control 30 Percent of Syria

Washington and its Allies Control 30 Percent of Syria

Wednesday, 14 February, 2018 - 06:45
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson attends a ministerial meeting in Kuwait for member states of the coalition fighting ISIS. (Reuters)
Asharq Al-Awsat
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson revealed on Tuesday that Washington and its allies control 30 percent of Syrian territory and its oil fields.

He added: “We have not played a wrong role in Syria. We are active in pushing towards the Geneva talks and there are efforts towards uniting the opposition.”

He made his remarks during a joint press conference with Kuwaiti Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah al-Khalid al-Hamad Al Sabah at the end of the Kuwait-hosted ministerial meeting for the US-led coalition against the ISIS terrorist group.

“We are working with Russia that has influence over the Syrian regime of Bashar Assad to persuade him to come to Geneva and establish a united Syria,” continued the US official.

Meanwhile, in Rome, 15 defense ministers of from the US-led coalition met to discuss the fate of foreign ISIS prisoners held in Syria, but failed to come to a final agreement on what to do with them.

The US delegation at the closed-door meeting, led by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, had hoped to persuade allies to take more responsibility for the foreign fighters.

One option that has been discussed is to take detainees back to their country of origin for prosecution - something western allies have shown little enthusiasm for.

“It was not resolved in a final way, it is being worked,” Mattis told reporters traveling with him from Rome to Brussels.

Mattis said allies were engaged in dealing with the issue and a number of steps were under way, including repatriations. He added that there was no blanket solution to the detainee problem, and each case would have to be looked at carefully.

“The most important thing is we figure out how we are going to deal with this, that we can deal with it, we don’t paralyze ourselves and just say there is nothing we can do ... That is the one thing I will say: doing nothing is not an option.”

French officials have repeated that French fighters caught by US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces should be prosecuted by local forces and that Paris had no intention of bringing them back to their home soil.

“They are fighters. They are French, but they are our enemies. The conclusion is that they will be judged by those who they fought,” Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said on February 7.

The names of the countries attending the meeting were not disclosed.

“We don’t want them going back on the streets, we don’t want them on the street in Ankara, we don’t want them on the street in Tunis, Paris or Brussels,” Mattis said.

When asked whether the United States would consider moving some of the detainees to Guantanamo Bay, he declined to comment.

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