James Jeffrey: normalizing with Damascus to distance it from Tehran is a “crazy idea” and Idlib will remain the fortress of Syrian opposition with no getting back to the hand of Syrian Regime

The US envoy on the Syrian file, James Jeffrey, considered that the belief that engaging with and normalizing with Damascus excludes them from Tehran as a “crazy idea”.

Jeffrey, in an interview with Saudi owned newspaper Al Sharq Al Awsat in London, said that Iran “has very established footholds in the Syrian state and society,” pointing out that Arab countries “will never be in agreement with President Bashar Assad, they can claim that they can keep him out of orbit Iranian, but I think this is not possible at all”.

Jeffrey stressed that Washington supports “in every possible way”, diplomatically and logistically, Israeli raids on “Iranian sites” in Syria, pointing to the need for all foreign forces to leave Syria, which did not exist before 2011, with the exception of the Russian.

Jeffrey said that his country would continue to impose sanctions on Damascus and added: “We support the enforcement of sanctions against the Syrian President until his acceptance of a political solution,” explaining that “economic sanctions make the situation worse for the circle of people very close to President Bashar Assad, and this is what we are always trying to reach a mechanism”.

We want to make it clear to those personalities that there is no clear future for them if they continue to support and aid Assad, and they are encouraged to exert pressure for the political transition”.

Regarding the Russian and the future of Idlib, Jeffrey pointed out that the recent Russian media campaign against Damascus is evidence that Moscow is also aware of any kind of allies loyal to it in Syria today, Idlib promised “the opposition fortress” and will not return to Damascus soon.