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Trump-Putin Cooperation in Syria Resulting in Major Progress

Aug. 19, 2017 (EIRNS)—The cooperation that President Trump initiated with Russian President Vlaimdir Putin in Syria, though limited due to political constraints in Washington, has brought about major progress on the ground in Syria. One sign of that was the convening of the Damascus International Fair this week, for the first time in six years, which Syrian officials are hailing as a harbinger of peaceful and prosperous times to come. Minister of Economy and Foreign Trade Mohammad Samer al-Khalil said in a statement yesterday that the higher-than-expected turnout is a positive indicator of the Fair’s success, and another indicator is the number of states and companies participating in it, which stands at 45 Arab and other foreign countries and over 1,562 companies. He went on to say that this also confirms that Syria has entered the stage of recovery and victory.

Presidential Political and Media Advisor Bouthaina Shaaban told Al Mayadeen TV that the high local and international turnout is very symbolic and sends a message that the war in Syria is going to an end and that terrorism will be totally eliminated and that "we are at the beginning of the road towards reconstruction." She specifically singled out the visit of Lebanese ministers to the fair as well as the participation of Egypt.

"We welcome any Arab country that believes that cooperation and integration with Syria and other Arab countries is a prerequisite for the advancement of the Arabs in the next stage,"

Shaaban said.

As for the war itself, she said it changed the world with the decline of the strength and dominance of the West on the one hand in favor of the rise of Russia, China, India, Brazil and Iran on the other hand. She also affirmed that the United States will not be able to impose on the Syrian people any division, federalism or policies stemming from either ignorance or misjudgment. "As we defeated terrorism, we will fight against any illegal presence on our land, whether being that of the United States or Turkey," Shaaban said.

In covering Shaaban’s remarks, Reuters notes that President Trump has ended CIA support to rebel groups fighting to topple Syrian President Bashar al Assad. Turkey, long one of the main rebel backers, has also shifted its priority away from ousting Assad, to seeking to mend ties with Russia and curb Kurdish expansion near its border.

The Trump administration also continues to state that it’s only mission in Syria is to defeat ISIS. "[O]ur overall mission, and we’re not taking our eye off the ball in this regard, is to defeat ISIS," State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert told reporters during a regular briefing yesterday, when asked about a recent Reuters report quoting the spokesman for the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces claiming that the U.S. was planning to be in Syria for decades.

"Whether it’s in Iraq or in Syria, that is our intent, to defeat ISIS and not do anything more than that. We want Syria governed by Syrians, not by the United States, not by any other forces, but by Syrians."

In response to the follow-up question, "So you say you’re not planning to stay after defeating ISIS?" Nauert said: "Look, that is not our plan. Our intent is to defeat ISIS, and we’re keeping our focus on that."