By Syrian Democratic Times
Ambassador James Jeffrey, the Special Envoy to Syria, made remarks on January 30 to clarify US policy on Syria and negotiations with the EU, following the renewed violence in Idlib.
In response to a question about the Turkish response to the Idlib offensive, Jeffrey said, “President Erdogan is a leader who has been through several conflicts. He’s an experienced leader in terms of dealing with the situation in Syria, but he is our partner and our NATO ally and we stand with him.”
Jeffrey’s laudatory statement about “standing” with President Erdogan has caused a lot of discomfort among the people of North and East Syria, US allies who have very recently been attacked by Turkish forces and Turkish-backed militias. His statement also seems to indicate that the US might be willing to respond militarily if Syrian troops attacked a Turkish outpost — when the US stood back and let their allies, the Syrian Democratic Forces, get attacked by Turkey during their illegal invasion into North and East Syria last year.
In terms of US Congress, we are still waiting on the complementary bills Senate bill S.2641 and the House bill H.R.4695, both of which are meaningful bills that sanction Turkey and support the people of North and East Syria. H.R.4695 has already passed the US House. The US Senate still must hold a general vote on S.2641. Then the two bills must be edited and reconciled. Then they can continue on their way to becoming US law. This could take several months. But if they pass, it will be a very positive move to support North and East Syria.
All of these developments have occurred as US politicos have been mostly distracted by domestic issues. The past two weeks have been a nonstop series of high-stakes events in domestic politics. The Iowa Democratic caucus, the first state election that will help choose the Democratic candidate to run against Donald Trump for the US presidency, became a tangled fiasco. The annual State of the Union address blazed through, with its usual pageantry and spectacle. The US Senate finally acquitted Donald Trump of impeachment charges, so he will not be ousted due to impeachment. Perhaps domestic politics will slow a bit, and people may focus once again on the crisis in Syria.