High-profile opposition leader ready to visit Damascus
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.