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    US Says Will Not Force Iran Forces Out of Syria, Hopes Govt. Will Not Need Them

    © AP Photo / Hassan Ammar
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    UNITED NATIONS (Sputnik) - The United States will not force the Iranian forces out of Syria, and hopes that the Syrian government at some point will not feel the need to have them in the country, US Special Representative for Syria Engagement James Jeffrey told reporters.

    "We are not going to force Iranians out of Syria. We don’t even think the Russians can force the Iranians out of Syria because force implies force, military action," Jeffrey said on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly on Thursday.

    Jeffrey explained "This is all about political pressure" and "Technically this is the Syrian government that has invited the Iranians in," but added "It is our expectation that the Syrian government… at the end of the political process or at some point of the politics process will no longer feel the need to have the Iranian forces there."

    He also said that the current situation in Syria’s province of Idlib is frozen as a result of the deal reached by Turkey and Russia in Sochi, US Special Representative for Syria Engagement James Jeffrey told reporters.

    "I hope the situation in Idlib is, at least for the moment, frozen by the Sochi agreement between Turkey and Russia — a mere miracle itself," Jeffrey said at the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly on Thursday.

    Jeffrey said that now there exists an opportunity at the United Nations to build up momentum based on the statement of the Small Group on Syria earlier.

    The Small Group, comprising of Egypt, France, Germany, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom and the United States, issued a joint statement urging the convening a Constitutional Committee to draft a new constitution for Syria and prepare for UN-supervised elections.

    "Almost no country is siding with the Iranians, the Russians and the Syrian regime on trying to delay movement toward a political settlement and if we can move to a political settlement that will reinforce dependency of this conflict to shift to the political rather than where it is now," Jeffrey said.

    Earlier in September, Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan signed an agreement to set up by October 15 a demilitarized zone in Idlib province along the contact line of the armed opposition and the Syrian government forces. Idlib is the last holdout for extremist and rebel forces fighting to topple te government of Syrian president Bashar Assad.

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    political pressure, James Jeffrey, Iran, Syria, United States
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