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U.S. Diplomats Fully Support Turkish Objectives in Syria’s Idlib Province

March 11, 2020 (EIRNS)—James Jeffrey, the U.S. Special Envoy for Syria Engagement, and David Satterfield, the U.S. Ambassador in Turkey, delivered a briefing to reporters at the State Department yesterday, from Brussels, where they have been trying to armtwist NATO into giving more support to Turkish ambitions in Syria’s Idlib province. Their briefing was characterized by the language of regime change—though they never said that explicitly—by the underlying assumptions of the so-called Responsibility to Protect doctrine, and full support for the Turkish propaganda on Syria and the “evil Assad regime” and its Russian and Iranian backers. They fully embraced the Turkish propaganda that the objective of Damascus and Moscow in Idlib is to drive out the civilian population in order to coerce Ankara into doing their bidding.

“A deliberate Russian decision to initiate a campaign in Idlib—the last extant de-escalation zone—has used as its primary lever the presence of 3 million-plus innocent civilians, the majority of whom are women and children,” Satterfield said. “By forcing their movement, their displacement from their home under very difficult conditions, towards the Turkish border, Russia’s calculation is, this will compel Turkey to take decisions favorable to Russian ambitions to both retake the Idlib zone for the regime and effect, through the retaking of Idlib, an end to the ability of the international community to see either the full implementation of Resolution 2254 or a situation in which there is any stand made against Russian aggression.”

Satterfield stressed that it is “Russian aggression,” because “the Syrian regime on its own could not be conducting this campaign. This is enabled by, at all times, Russian air and ground activity, but particularly air.”

Iran did not escape their indictment, either, with Jeffrey claiming that Tehran not only wants “to prop up the war-criminal Assad regime,” but also threatens the U.S. military posture in the region and U.S. allies that host U.S. forces.

“This is another indication that Iran is driving on its own axis in Syria, not only supporting the Assad regime, which is bad enough, but trying to expand its own hegemonic agenda throughout the northern Levant, and this is something the United States is absolutely opposed to,” Jeffrey said.

They bragged that the U.S. objective is to do everything possible, short of a direct military intervention, to interfere with Moscow/Damascus objectives in Syria.

“They are out to get a military victory in all of Syria,” Jeffrey said. “Our goal is to make it very difficult for them to do that by a variety of diplomatic, military, and other actions.” He claimed that this includes denying Syrian forces their allegedly favorite tactic, the use of chemical weapons, “because they know that we, probably with several of our allies, will respond in a very savage military way to that.” This also includes the presence of U.S. troops in the oil fields in eastern Syria. Though they’re ostensibly there to fight ISIS, they are also a complication that the Syrian government has to take into account.

Naturally, none of the reporters on the call challenged the axiomatic basis for what Jeffrey and Satterfield were saying. Some of them were clearly all too happy to hear Erdogan’s propaganda repeated back to them.

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