U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Monday that his country will work with the United Nations and its partners to forge a lasting settlement of the Syrian conflict that includes full representation for all Syrians, including the people of northeast Syria now recovering from the ISIS occupation.
“We congratulate the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) on their successful operations to liberate al-Dashisha, Syria, from the scourge of ISIS,” Pompeo said in a press statement.
“Dashisha since 2013 has been a key stronghold and transit route for ISIS fighters, weapons, and suicide bombers between Syria and Iraq,” he explained, adding that the SDF now controls the area, with Iraqi Security Forces controlling the Iraqi side of the border.
He noted that last week he convened 53 members of the U.S. Coalition to Defeat ISIS to discuss the next phase of the campaign and the imperative for coalition burden sharing, particularly with respect to stabilizing liberated areas.
Pompeo stressed that the U.S. is grateful for the significant contributions received to date and look for these contributions “to accelerate as our partners in the SDF prepare for the next phase of operations against the few remaining ISIS strongholds in Syria.”
He said that SDF ground offensive cleared over 1,200 square kilometers in the Dashisha area.
“The offensive was part of our Coalition-backed effort to clear the last pockets of ISIS-held territory in the Middle Euphrates River Valley and the Iraq-Syria border region,” the secretary of state added.
“We commend the bravery and sacrifice of the Syrian Democratic Forces. We also commend the significant efforts of the Iraqi Security Forces to ensure that ISIS could not flee into Iraq and the artillery and air support provided during key moments of the operation.”
Pompeo stated that the liberation of Iraq and ISIS’s losses in Syria are major achievements, but the mission of his country’s forces is not complete.
Destroying ISIS continues to be an urgent priority for President Trump and the Administration, he stressed.
In this context, the U.S. has welcomed the safe evacuation of more than 400 members of the Syrian Civil Defense, otherwise known as the White Helmets, and their families from southwest Syria.
“We are glad that these brave volunteers, who have saved thousands of lives, are now out of harm’s way although the White Helmets have consistently been targeted by the Assad regime,” State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert said.
She added that the United States and its international partners asked the United Nations to take the central role in this critical humanitarian operation.
Nauert renewed her country’s call on the Assad regime and Russia to abide by their commitments, end the violence and protect all Syrian civilians in areas formerly part of the southwest de-escalation zone and throughout Syria.
This article has been adapted from its original source.
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