Iran must end its military influence in Syria; said Secretary Tillerson
US State Department briefing, Aug. 1, 2017 — At a press briefing in Washington, US Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson insisted on the cooperation with Russia to tackle terrorism and end the six-year old war in Syria.
In his remarks to the reporters, Secretary Tillerson said: ‘I want to turn to Russia and the relationship, as you know, Russia continues to be under considerable stress. As I indicated in my first trip to Moscow, and meetings at the Kremlin with President Putin following those meetings, the relationship was at a historic low since the end of the Cold War and it could get worse. And the question, I think, of the events of the last week or so is: Is it getting worse or can we maintain some level of stability in that relationship, and continue to find ways to address areas of mutual interest and ways in which we can deal with our differences without those becoming open conflicts as well?
We have explored in the early days one area of mutual interest, which is terrorism. Now, we’ve chosen the theater in Syria as a place in which we test our ability to work together. We share the common view of ISIS as a threat to both of our countries, and so we are committed to the defeat of ISIS, Daesh, other terrorist organizations, and then we are committed to the stability of Syria following the battle to defeat ISIS. Clearly, Russia has aligned itself early on in the conflict with the Syrian regime and Bashar al-Assad, which we find to be unacceptable. So we’re working with Russia through how do we achieve the end state, which is a unified Syria — not divided — but a Syria that is — has the opportunity for the Syrian people to put in place a new constitution, have free and fair elections, and select a new leadership. And it continues to be our view that the Assad regime has no role in the future governing of Syria. The sequencing of all of that we’re open to, as long as that is the — that’s what is achieved at the end.
The second condition we have is that Iran’s military influence, the direct presence of Iranian military forces inside of Syria, they must leave and go home, whether those are Iranian Revolutionary Guard forces or whether those are paid militias, foreign fighters, that Iran has brought into Syria in this battle. Those are our two end state conditions, and those are shared by many of our coalition partners the world over.