Washington D.C: In a first of its kind, a trilateral meeting between the three countries, namely, the United States of America, Russia and Saudi Arabia commenced with specific focus on Syria. US spokesperson Mark. C. Toner stated that US believes the Syrian forces have been trained and equipped by the Department of Defense as partners in the overall counter-ISIL effort, and these forces are being provided with a wide range of coalition support in their mission to counter ISIL in Syria.
Calling it a Defensive Fire Support strategy, Toner added that US will take necessary steps to ensure these forces can successfully carry out their mission. He added that US has cautioned Syria in the past not to engage U.S. aircraft, and the Syrian regime would similarly be advised not to interfere with New Syrian Forces’ counter-ISIL mission.
When asked by a journalist about the Syrian force showing loyalty to the Assad, Toner replied that US is prepared to support these forces on the ground who are fighting ISIL in northern Syria. Also, US focusses on protecting them from other possible attacks.He added that necessary steps will be taken to to ensure these forces can carry out their anti-ISIL mission.
Foreign Minister of Russia, Lavrov, Saudi Foreign Minister al-Jubeir and Secretary Kerry agreed on acknowledging the dangers posed to the Syrian people by the rise of extremist forces and the need for a meaningful political transition to enable a unified fight against ISIL and other extremist groups in Syria.
Secretary Kerry did reiterate the U.S. view that the Assad regime’s brutality against the Syrian people has helped foster ISIL’s growth in the region and as well as foster the presence of foreign fighters, and made clear that Assad had no role in Syria’s future. Kerry stressed on the coalition’s commitment to supporting counter- ISIL fighters on the ground in Syria.
Toner stated that it is a very complex situation in northern Syria because both Syrian Arab and Syrian Kurdish forces that are fighting ISIL have been effective in driving ISIL out of the region. Adding, he said that US is going to support these forces with airstrikes and also, if they are under threat, whoever they are under threat from will also be attended upon, because the focus, he repeated, was on countering ISIL in the region and US is going to support and protect them as they take the fight to ISIL.
Taking a broader perspective, Toner reiterated that US certainly wants a political solution, and maintains that a political solution is the only way to resolve the crisis and end the bloodshed in Syria, which is going to be the focus of US efforts going forward.