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Syria responds to US military commitment commitment of Tillerson

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Syria said on Thursday that the presence of the US military in Syria is an act of aggression and a violation of sovereignty.

The comments came after US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson described the plans in a speech on Wednesday for the United States to remain diplomatically and militarily engaged in Syria long after the defeat of the radical Islamic State group.

The United States led a coalition that carried out air strikes against targets of the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq since 2014, and the Pentagon said last month that there are about 2,000 US troops in Syria.

Tillerson discussed the way forward for the United States in Syria in a conservative event supported by the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. He listed a number of reasons why it is crucial for the United States to stay in the troubled country, including preventing a resurgence of the Islamic State and al Qaeda terrorist groups.

"ISIS has one foot in the grave and maintains a US military presence in Syria until the full and complete defeat of ISIS is achieved, soon it will have two," said Tillerson, using an acronym for the militant group.

"We can not allow history to repeat itself in Syria." he said, referring to what he described as mistakes made by the Obama administration by prematurely withdrawing US troops from Iraq and not stabilizing Libya after the NATO air strikes that led to the overthrow of the late President Moammar Gaddafi.

Reasons to remain committed

Tillerson said there are also other reasons for the United States to remain committed to Syria.

"A total withdrawal of US personnel at this time would help [a Assad]. [Syrian President Bashar al-] A unified stable and independent Syria ultimately require a subsequent leadership to Assad to succeed." The continued presence of the United States securing the lasting defeat of ISIS will also help pave the way for legitimate local civil authorities to exercise responsible government from their own liberated areas. "

Tillerson told former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who asked her questions in the event, that the lives of Syrian civilians are still at stake.

"The priority at this time in Syria is to prevent people from being killed," he said, adding that they are still being killed by thousands. He called President Assad a brutal killer of his own people who can never provide long-term stability.

Tillerson said that the main objectives of the US stabilization efforts in Syria are to create the conditions for Syrian refugees to return to the country, to curb Iranian influence in the region and to pave the way for elections monitored by the UN aimed at securing new leadership in Damascus.

Aaron David Miller of the Wilson Center, an expert in the Middle East and a former advisor to a series of state secrets ries, told VOA that he sees a series of similarities between the policy outlined by Tillerson and the administration policy of Tillerson. Obama in Syria

"This is how they are: otherworldly goals without the will or ability to achieve them … [an insistence on] there is no nation building," Miller said.

He said that the Trump administration's policy differs from the previous administration in that Tillerson advocates staying in Syria for a long time.

Geneva process supported by the UN

Tillerson's plan is based on the UN-backed Geneva process, intended to mediate a political solution to the civil war in Syria. The UN special envoy to Syria Staffan de Mistura announced on Wednesday that the UN will house the Syrian government and the opposition for peace talks in Vienna on January 25 and 26.

De Mistura's office said in a statement that the meeting will focus mainly on constitutional issues.

"The special envoy looks forward to the participation of both delegations in this special meeting, and hopes that the delegations will come to Vienna prepared for a substantive compromise with him and his team with a specific focus on the constitutional basket of the agenda towards the full implementation of Security Council Resolution 2254, "said the statement, referring to a resolution of 2015 that calls for an end to attacks on civilian targets.

The scheduled talks will take place days before the peace congress scheduled in Russia to find an agreement to the civil war that began in March 2011.

Esha Sarai from VOA contributed to this report.

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