Rex Tillerson reaffirms US commitment to Syrian peace, rules out Assad in future government | News | DW | 26.10.2017
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Rex Tillerson reaffirms US commitment to Syrian peace, rules out Assad in future government

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has reaffirmed a commitment to reviving the Geneva peace process. He added that Washington sees no future for President Bashar Assad in Syria's government.

Tillerson told reporters on Thursday that the reign of the Assad family was "coming to an end" after what he called a "fruitful" discussion with UN Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura, who later addressed the UN Security Council by videoconference.

"The US wants a whole and unified Syria with no role for Bashar Assad in the government," Tillerson said. "The only issue is how that should be brought about."

But Assad's exit was not a "prerequisite" for the talks to start, Tillerson said.

Staffan de Mistura is expected to reconvene UN-mediated intra-Syrian talks on November 28. This comes after gains on the battlefield by Assad's Russian-backed forces.

These will be the eighth round of talks under his guidance since early 2016.

Opposition delegations — which do not include the so-called "Islamic State" (IS) or other UN-designated terrorist groups — have never spoken directly with Syrian government envoys under de Mistura's mediation.

No triumph for Tehran 

Tillerson also said the Syrian government's advances did not amount to a "triumph" for Iran, a key backer of Assad.

"I see Iran as a hanger-on," Tillerson said. "Iran has not been successful; the Russian government has been more successful. We have had success. I don't think that Iran should be given credit for the defeat of IS in Syria."

Russia-backed Syrian government forces as well as US-backed, Kurdish-led troops have recently led to a significant reduction in territory controlled by IS across Syria.

The US-backed forces recently ousted IS from its capital, Raqqa.

Watch video 04:22

Raqqa declared free of 'Islamic State' militants - Q&A with Col. Ryan Dillon

jbh/kms (AP, Reuters)

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