US President Donald Trump declared Saturday the beginning of a new era of transition to peace within Syria after the jihadists lost Raqa, a victory he declared as “the end of the Islamic state’s reign.”
“With the liberation of the capital of the Islamic State and the vast majority of its territory, the end of the Islamic state’s caliphate is in sight,” the president conveyed in a statement that was released by the White House.
This victory of the Kurdish-dominated forces, allies of Washington, announces a “new phase” in Syria, he added.
Fighters of the Islamic State (EI) group are increasingly concentrated on the few remaining strongholds are seeing the collapse of their “reign” in the regions they conquered in Syria and Iraq back in 2014.
Bashar al-Asad’s government forces in turn resumed a symbolic city in the province of Homs Saturday, the official Syrian agency Sana said.
“We will move quickly to a new phase in which we will support local security forces, stop violence in Syria and create the conditions for a lasting peace, so that terrorists can not return to threaten our collective security,” said Trump.
“Together with our allies and partners, we will support diplomatic negotiations that will end violence, allow refugees to return home safely and lead to a political transition” in Syria, he continued.
Trump made no mention of the fate that Washington intends to reserve to Bashar Al Asad, nor to the influence that Russia might have in those negotiations, these were the two reasons that in the past, led to a failure in previous discussions.
While European Nations continue to ask for the removal of Al Asad, Trump insisted that the process of political transition must “respect the will of the Syrian people.”
So far, the seven rounds of negotiations on Syria’s political future in Geneva have led to nothing.
In parallel, a second round of discussions in Astana, Kazakhstan, under the aegis of Russia, Iran and Turkey, defined areas of “de-escalation” under foreign influence and allowed a clear reduction of violence.
Since 2014 Raqa, in northern Syria, was the fief of the EI.
“Raqa’s release is a crucial stage in the global struggle against the Islamic State group,” US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who is currently on a tour in the Arabian Peninsula, said Friday.
But the “loss of Raqa (by the EI) does not mean that our fight against the EI is over,” warned Mr. Tillerson.
“The global coalition will continue to focus on all elements of national power – military, intelligence, diplomacy, economy, law enforcement – and in the vigor of our communities until all Syrians are liberated from the brutality of the EI and that we are confident that he can no longer export his terror, “he said.
The capture of Raqa, the former de facto “capital” of the EI in Syria, is the latest victory of the Syrian Democratic Forces (FDS), an anti-jihadist alliance to which the United States gave crucial air support.
Since 2015, the SDS expelled them from various regions and imposed themselves as an unavoidable player in the struggle against the Jihadist organization.
In a country torn apart by war, it is not to be discounted that these forces will eventually end up joining the government of Al Asad and Moscow.
The conflict in Syria was complicated by the intervention of foreign powers and jihadist groups.
Since then more than 330,000 people have died in the war and several millions have been displaced and or injured.