US: Syria will not be stable under al-Assad
Cansu Çamlıbel - ISTANBULSyria needs a political change that will leave current leader Bashar al-Assad out, according to Daniel Rubinstein, the United States’ special envoy for Syria.
“We believe that there will not be a stable Syria that is at peace with itself or with its neighbors until a genuine political transition takes place that does not include Mr. Assad,” he told a group of Turkish journalists during a roundtable meeting during a recent visit to Istanbul.
“We fundamentally believe – as President [Barack] Obama said the other day – Assad has lost legitimacy and he did so some time ago because of his horrible brutal actions against the Syrian people and failure to address the legitimate grievances of the Syrian people,” the envoy said.
A communiqué released after a meeting at Camp David between Obama and leaders of the Gulf Cooperation Council nations “reaffirmed that Assad has no legitimacy and has no role in Syria’s future.”
A “political transition without Bashar al-Assad” was being discussed even as a “military solution” for the crisis has been ruled out, said Rubenstein.
“We happen to believe to this day there is no military solution to this conflict. There does need to be a political solution. We do believe that the political solution is the only one that is going to bring a sustainable end to this suffering and instability. Everyone serious about ending this conflict does not need to urgently engage in every single way possible to do so,” he said.
“We think that there has to be a political transition and solution. Until those grievances are addressed, the Syrian people will continue to pursue their aspirations for a better life,” Rubenstein said. “We believe the international coalition’s efforts to fight ISIL [Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant] are interlinked with a genuine political solution to the crisis. It will be very difficult to achieve one without gaining progress on the other. These are connected. Frankly the Assad regime has not acted responsibly. That regime has not and will not be a partner to the U.S.”
According to the envoy, the current situation is urgent and Turkey knows better than anybody the huge impact of this conflict in terms of refugees and spillovers.
“This is the type of urgency that requires all of us and our allies to up our efforts to try to bring an end to this conflict over a political solution. Over the course of the conflict there has been some back-and-forth cycles involving various parties,” he said.
The U.S. and Turkey have a common vision on the need to support the moderate rebels in Syria through their political activities and even those of armed groups can fulfill their action to protect their fellow Syrians, the envoy said.
“There is no change in terms of the U.S.’ position regarding Jabhat Al-Nusra. It is a designated foreign terrorist organization, and it is the Syrian affiliate of al-Qaeda and there should be no question in anyone’s minds as to how the U.S. sees that group,” he said. “We will continue to engage in a dialogue with all of our colleagues in the international community about the need to be careful as they provide assistance to the Syrian opposition.”
Commenting on media claims that Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar would further cooperate for a secure zone in Syria, the envoy said: “In the first instance I would refer you to those three governments for any specific actions they are either taking separately or in coordination with each other. But more broadly, we do believe fundamentally that there is no military solution to this conflict that is sustainable. There needs to be a political solution. Various forms of pressure must be used. Some of that is political, some of that is economic.”