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    Washington Made U-Turn on Assad 'Due to Russia's Military Involvement in Syria'

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    Washington has made a U-turn on its plan to topple President Bashar al-Assad due to Russia's efficient military engagement in Syria, Hashem Kuraim of the Republican Party told Sputnik Arabic, commenting on remarks made by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley and White House Spokesman Sean Spicer.

    "Russia's military involvement in Syria and the victories which the Syrian Arab Army has managed to secure with Moscow's assistance are the key reason behind the United States changing its policy in Syria," he said. "Russia has defended Syria's sovereignty and Assad's power. This is why the US is no longer able to carry out its plan of dividing Syria and ousting Assad."

    Kuraim added that Washington did not abandon its former strategy in Syria of its own free will.

    "The United States wants to withdraw [from the crisis], but with its face saved. A political agreement was the only solution. This is what Washington has done by saying that it accepts Assad as the Syrian president. I think that a face-to-face meeting will follow," the GOP member said.

    Last week, several senior US officials indicated that Washington no longer intended to carry out regime change in Syria in what came as a sharp contrast to the initial stance of the Obama administration. The previous US administration long maintained that Assad must go so that key parties involved in the Syrian conflict could launch the peace process. This approach was somewhat readjusted, but never fully abandoned after Moscow sent its warplanes to Syria following a request from Damascus.

    Kuraim added that the six-year-long Syrian conflict was sparked over economic reasons.

    "Washington's key goal in Syria entails building a gas pipeline linking Qatar with Turkey and Europe," he said, adding that this would help these countries to exert economic pressure on Russia. "In addition, they are interested in taking control of Syrian gas fields."

    Halaf Miftah, one of the senior officials of Syria's ruling Baath Party, also told Sputnik that an attempt to topple Assad has failed "due to the stance of the Syrian people and the victories which the SAA achieved thanks to Russia's assistance." He further said that Washington's decision marked a shift toward a "natural and logical" approach, shared among other nations by Russia and China.

    Washington's decision indicated that the US leadership "has acknowledged that Assad's rule is legitimate, that Syrian sovereignty is inviolable and that they cannot meddle in Syria's internal affairs," he added.

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    Tags:
    military operation in Syria, Russian aerial campaign, regime change, military campaign, Halaf Miftah, Bashar al-Assad, Syria, United States, Russia
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