Secretary of State Rex Tillerson poked fun at Iran as being little more than a “hanger-on” in Syria and said that in contrast, Russia has been much more successful in backing the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Tillerson acknowledged the Russians have done well in Syria as a key backer of Assad, but he withheld the same analysis regarding Iran, that he referred to as a “hanger-on.”
“I see Iran as a hanger-on,” Tillerson said, according to Military Times. “Iran has not been successful; the Russian government has been more successful. We have had success. I don’t think that Iran should be given credit for the defeat of ISIS in Syria.”
The regime of Bashar al-Assad is coming to an end now that the Islamic State is close to fully collapsing, Tillerson also proclaimed Thursdsay.
“The United States wants a whole and unified Syria with no role for Bashar al-Assad in the government,” Tillerson said Thursday. “The reign of the Assad family is coming to an end. The only issue is how that should be brought about.”
“We do not believe there is a future for the Assad regime, the Assad family,” Tillerson added.
Tillerson met with Staffan de Mistura, the United Nations Syria envoy, in Switzerland prior to delivering these remarks to reporters. Mistura is set to start peace talks again on Nov. 28 now that Assad’s forces have had major military successes in various parts of Syria, like Deir Ezzor.
For Tillerson, Assad’s exit should be conducted through Mistura’s U.N. peace talk process, but Assad doesn’t have to leave first before the peace talks can properly begin.
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