Friday, March 31, 2017

WORLD_ SYRIA_ Britain at odds with US over Bashar al-Assad's future in Syria

The Telegraph


Britain at odds with US over Bashar al-Assad's future in Syria

Photo: The Trump administration said it is no longer a US priority to see Bashar al-Assad step down from power Credit: (SANA via AP) down from power Credit: (SANA via AP)

By Raf Sanchez, Middle East Correspondent
31 March 2017 - 5:45pm

Britain has found itself at odds with the US over Syria after Donald Trump’s administration announced that American policy would no longer focus on getting Bashar al-Assad to relinquish power.

The UK and the Obama administration both spent years saying that Mr Assad’s brutal tactics during the Syrian war meant that he had lost legitimacy and must step down to allow for a political transition in Syria.

But the Trump administration appears to have backed away from that position, saying the question of whether or not Mr Assad stayed in power was no longer a priority for the US.

"You pick and choose your battles and when we're looking at this, it's about changing up priorities and our priority is no longer to sit there and focus on getting Assad out,” said Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the UN.



Michael Fallon, the defence secretary, said the UK does not “see a long term future in Syria for someone who has been bombing his own civilians”.

And then

Under Barack Obama the US gave some arms to Syrian rebel groups but most of its focus was on equipping forces to fight against Isil rather than the Syrian regime. Mr Trump's policy places even heavier emphasis on the anti-Isil front and even less on the opposition to the Syrian regime.


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