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    People gesture at a US military vehicle travelling in Amuda province, northern Syria April 29, 2017.

    Ex-Syrian Diplomat: Pompeo's Policy Towards Damascus Remains Likely Unchanged

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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - US policy on Syria will not change following the decision by President Donald Trump to fire Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, former Syrian diplomat Bassam Barabandi told Sputnik.

    "I don’t think it will [change]," Barabandi said. "Any other person would just implement what the president says. So, in a way, it is not important, as the policy or strategy did not change… they changed who implements it."

    With respect to the war in Syria, the former diplomat said all sides are "losing," evidenced by the destruction and millions of refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs).

    "We don’t have any more Syria," Barabandi said. "Syria is divided. We have five million refugees, seven million IDPs, [and] 60 percent of Syria’s infrastructure was destroyed by the regime."

    Barabandi believes that in order to start the political process aimed at settling the Syrian conflict, Russia should end its activities in the country and coordinate with the United States on establishing a ceasefire.

    He added that the UN must have humanitarian access all over Syria and detainees from both sides of the conflict should be released.

    On Tuesday, Trump announced that he is replacing Tillerson with CIA Director Mike Pompeo, citing differences over issues like the Iran nuclear agreement.

    The former Syrian diplomat also said there must be a place for all parties to the conflict in the negotiations process.

    The Russia-hosted Syrian National Dialogue Congress, Barabandi said, could have been the right place for such talks but it was too short and lacked enough opposition representatives.

    The Syrian National Dialogue Congress in Sochi brought together nearly 1,400 delegates from Syria's government and various opposition groups from all facets of Syrian society. In recent years the international community has tried to settle the conflict in Syria through negotiations in Geneva and Astana.

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    changes, policy, Bassam Barabandi, Rex Tillerson, Mike Pompeo, United States, Syria
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