US State Department: "No support for efforts to normalize Bashar al-Assad"
A US State Department spokesperson said on Thursday, in the context of Turkey's recent attempts to mend ties with the Syrian administration, that they will not support efforts to reconcile with Damascus.
Al Monitor's State Department correspondent Elizabeth Hagedorn asked Vedant Patel during a press briefing:
"I’m wondering if you have a reaction to recent comments made by Turkish officials hinting at eventual reconciliation with Damascus. Most recently, Turkey’s foreign minister said the country had no preconditions for dialogue with the Syrian Government. Given the U.S. position on normalization of the Syrian regime, how does the U.S. view this recent rhetoric?"
"This administration will not express any support for efforts to normalize or rehabilitate Bashar al-Assad. The U.S. does not intend to upgrade our diplomatic relations with the Assad regime and we don’t support other countries normalizing their relations, either."
"We will not lift sanctions on Syria or change our position to oppose the reconstruction of Syria until there is authentic and enduring progress towards a political solution. We believe authentic and enduring political progress is both necessary and vital for reconstruction and have not seen progress on that front. We urge states in the region to consider very carefully the atrocities inflicted by the Assad regime on the Syrian people over the last decade as well as the regime’s continuing efforts to deny much of the country access to integral humanitarian aid and security."
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu had said on 11 August:
"Syria must have a strong administration if a division of this country is to be prevented. A political will can be enforced across Syria only through unity (...) We must find a way to reconcile the Syrian opposition with the Syrian regime. We can't have a lasting peace otherwise."