- Sputnik International
Get the latest news from around the world, live coverage, off-beat stories, features and analysis.

Washington Makes 'Very Significant' Decision to Abandon Regime Change in Syria

© REUTERS / Omar SanadikiPeople walk past a billboard depicting Syria's President Bashar al-Assad at Saadallah al-Jabri Square, in the government controlled area of Aleppo, Syria December 17, 2016
People walk past a billboard depicting Syria's President Bashar al-Assad at Saadallah al-Jabri Square, in the government controlled area of Aleppo, Syria December 17, 2016 - Sputnik International
America's top diplomats, including US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley, have indicated that Washington no longer wants Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to resign. In an interview with Radio Sputnik, journalist and scholar Dr. Lorenzo Trombetta described this policy change as "very significant."

"Certainly, this is a very significant shift, at least on a formal level," he said, adding that Washington's strategy in Syria de facto changed when John Kerry replaced Hillary Clinton as the US Secretary of State. As a result, the US attitude has increasingly become more aligned "with the Russian rhetoric and the Russian approach," the analyst said.

Moscow has always maintained that the Syrians are the only ones who can determine the fate of their country and chose its government, a stark contrast to what the United States and its allies said was the right way to resolve the devastating war. High-ranking US and European officials have long demanded President Bashar al-Assad step down, claiming that this was a necessary precondition to launch the peace process.

However, on Thursday, US envoy to the United Nations Nikki Haley reiterated that policymakers in the United States still viewed Assad as "a hindrance," but added that "our priority is no longer to sit there and focus on getting Assad out." Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said that Assad's status "will be decided by the Syrian people."

These comments appear to confirm what the Trump administration singled as its highest foreign policy priority, namely defeating Daesh and other jihadist groups.

US soldiers stand near military vehicles, north of Raqqa city, Syria. File photo - Sputnik International
Train, Advise, Assist? US Marines Deployed to Syria Spotted on Raqqa Frontline
Trombetta, an independent consultant for the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, asserted that comments made by America's top diplomats recently "in a way formalize" the shift which was brought about by John Kerry. He emphasized that the trend itself is not new. However, many debate whether the Obama administration genuinely abandoned its "Assad must go" mantra in its final years in power.

Trombetta, who specializes in contemporary Syrian history, explained that Washington's decision appears to have partially come in response to the changes which have taken place on the Syrian battleground.

"The Trump administration is moving forward in saying that it is no longer interested in regime change to a certain extent because the regional context has changed," the analyst said, referring to Russia's achievements in its limited military engagement in Syria.

Moscow launched its operation on September 30, 2015, following a formal request from Damascus. The country has been credited with helping President Bashar al-Assad turn the tide of war. In particular, Russia's support has been instrumental in liberating Aleppo, one of the largest cities in Syria, as well as the ancient ruins of Palmyra.

Have you heard the news? Sign up to our Telegram channel and we'll keep you up to speed!

To participate in the discussion
log in or register
Заголовок открываемого материала