High-pro­file op­po­si­tion leader ready to visit Da­m­as­cus

Daily Messenger - - International -

DA­M­AS­CUS: The head of a for­eign-backed Syr­ian op­po­si­tion group says he is ready to visit Da­m­as­cus for talks with the gov­ern­ment fol­low­ing re­ports that the United States has started with­draw­ing its troops from the coun­try.

Ah­mad Jarba, leader of the Cairo-based To­mor­row Move­ment, made the an­nounce­ment dur­ing a visit to Bagh­dad, Le­banon’s alMayadeen tele­vi­sion chan­nel re­ported on Sun­day.

He said he ex­pected the Iraqi gov­ern­ment to help es­tab­lish dia­log with Syr­ian au­thor­i­ties, the chan­nel said, cit­ing Jarba.

Jarba’s group sup­ports tribal mil­i­tants within the so-called Syr­ian Demo­cratic Forces (SDF) which is mostly com­prised of Kur­dish mil­i­tants armed and equipped by the United States.

“The ini­tia­tive that he plans to sug­gest to the Syr­ian gov­ern­ment en­vis­ages the cre­ation of tribal groups to pro­tect the bor­der with Iraq fol­low­ing the with­drawal of US mil­i­tary forces from Syria,” alMayadeen added.

US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump last month un­ex­pect­edly un­veiled his plan to with­draw troops from Syria, with US mil­i­tary spokesman Colonel Sean Ryan an­nounc­ing on Fri­day that the pull­out had be­gun.

Pen­tagon of­fi­cials later said the US mil­i­tary had started with­draw­ing some equip­ment, but not yet troops, amid con­tinu- ing con­fu­sion over Wash­ing­ton's claims to dis­en­gage from the com­plex war which it has helped to drag on.

Wash­ing­ton and many of its Western and re­gional al­lies have been sup­port­ing mil­i­tant and ter­ror­ist groups in a bid to top­ple the Syr­ian gov­ern­ment since 2011.

Da­m­as­cus, how­ever, has de­ci­sively pushed against the vi­o­lent out­fits with the help of its al­lies, most no­tably Rus­sia and Iran as well as Le­banon's Hezbol­lah.

The com­bined ef­fort has re­versed the trend of the con­flict in fa­vor of the Arab coun­try, which has now re-es­tab­lished con­trol over much of the ter­ri­to­ries held by ter­ror­ists.

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