James Jeffrey, the US special envoy for Syria, has arrived in Turkish capital Ankara to discuss the ten-year-long armed conflict with the local officials.
US special envoy for Syria landed on Wednesday with an accompanying delegation to discuss the latest developments in the Syrian situation. Commenting on his arrival, the US diplomat said: “We have exciting developments on the Syrian account”.
Meanwhile, the Syrian Constitutional Committee’s third round of meetings had begun in Geneva. According to Jeffrey, that was a good start, much helped by Turkey’s encouragement of all members of the Constitutional Committee, particularly the opposition.
Taking into account the unpredictable situation with corona, Jeffrey said COVID-19 tests of some members of the committee are yet to come in. However, the US official is hopeful that the body would continue to move on the political path and not stop progress.
“The military phase of this conflict needs to end. There is no more ground to be gained by the regime. The regime needs to return to the negotiating table and deal with the rest of the international community. That’s our priority,” Jeffrey said.
He added that the officials will discuss these issues with Turkish officials during his visit.
Referring to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s remarks on Tuesday said the US had sided with terrorist organizations instead of its NATO ally Turkey, Jeffrey said that the US is “a close ally of Turkey. We proved our value in many fields outside of Syria.”
The US special envoy for Syria reminded that the US delegation has reached an agreement with Turkey on its efforts in northern Syria last October. Since then, the White House is working to ensure that is maintained. “We have very close coordination on Idlib and on the political process and we will continue to do exactly what we’re doing,” Jeffrey said.
In fact, Syria remains major security and geopolitical threat for its all neighbours, beginning with Turkey. According to Mr Jeffrey, Ankara must be at the table in any resolution of this conflict.
The US and Turkey to discuss the implementation of UNSC Resolution
Previously, the US State Department had said Jeffrey would gather with senior Turkish officials in Ankara to discuss the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 2254 for the resolution of the Syrian conflict, efforts to defeat ISIS/DAESH, and other forms of bilateral cooperation related to the stability of Syria and the region.
The US official also met with Deputy Foreign Minister Sedat Onal on Wednesday, who held talks in Geneva, as part of the Syrian Constitutional Committee’s third round of meetings.
Since early 2011, when the al-Assad regime cracked down on pro-democracy protests, hundreds of thousands of people have been killed since and more than 10 million displaced. The UN reported that Turkey hosts more than 4 million Syrians as the top refugee-hosting country in the world.