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Sources Close to Biden: No Reconstruction in Syria Without Political Reform

Members of the Biden campaign have held a meeting with Syrians to discuss issues related to the conflict and the administrations approach, should Biden be elected writes Asharq Al-Awsat.
Sources Close to Biden: No Reconstruction in Syria Without Political Reform

An adviser to Democratic candidate Biden’s campaign told a group of Syrians that, if the Biden administration sees the light, “it will make clear to Russian President Vladimir Putin that there can be no American, or European, support for the reconstruction of Syria unless political reform takes place, and that reform must be meaningful. Additionally, the main humanitarian issues must be addressed, and presidential accountability must take place. Biden stressed the need to release prisoners, while keeping the US sanctions on the Syrian regime and the entities that deal with it in place, including Russia.”

Asharq Al-Awsat had access to the content of the interview between members of the Syrian community in the US and the advisor. According to the information, “American diplomatic activity in world capitals and the United Nations will return again to confront Russian propaganda that seeks to portray Assad as a victim of Western aggression, and seeks to convince the world that the country that he [Assad] destroyed must be rebuilt, explaining that the Biden administration will use diplomatic means to reassert the American leadership’s position, which is to support de-escalation measures and the political process.

The advisor stated that Biden’s approach is for preserving the presence of military forces in northeastern Syria “because [the presence] showed that it is a deterrent to Russian and regime airstrikes. At the same time, Biden’s approach will look for ways to strengthen the Turkish operations in Idleb, which currently protect nearly three million people from Syrian and Russian aggression.”

He added, “Regardless of our differences with Turkey at the moment, we are aware of the impact of its operations in Idleb on protecting the lives of Syrians, and we will work hand in hand [US and Turkey] at that.”

Regarding the deterioration in US-Turkish relations, the advisor said, “We cannot dispel our concerns about Turkey’s democracy under the rule of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The same applied to its behavior as a NATO ally,  a case in point is Turkey’s purchase of an S-400 air defense system from Russia, which makes selling F-35s to Turkey impossible. We cannot, however, allow the deterioration of US-Turkish relations in favor of those who wish to see the NATO Pact affected, such as Russia and China.”

He pointed out that the bipartisan approval on the Caesar Act in Congress, “confirms the importance of the Biden administration’s role in holding the Syrian regime accountable for its crimes,” considering that, “sanctions are a necessary foreign policy tool, and imposing sanctions on the Syrian regime is only one of several tools that together, must form a policy that promotes justice and accountability, and pushes for a political settlement to the Syrian war.”

He added, “There is a theory that the Obama administration committed to a trade-off with Iran — that it signed the Iranian nuclear deal in exchange for turning a blind eye to Iran’s involvement in the region, or that the US would treat Assad as untouchable in return for the Iran deal.”

The advisor said, “This is totally untrue. Sanctions must be imposed as part of a broader and more comprehensive strategy, driven by diplomacy. The Caesar Act is the most punitive sanctions against the regime and its backers in Russia and Iran. We are aware that there are humanitarian exceptions, and we will consider improving the way we take those exceptions into consideration to ensure aid is delivered to Syrians,” he said.

“The US will remain the largest donor of aid to Syria, and the Biden administration will work at ensuring that this does not change and that the aid reaches those who need it,” he added.


This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.

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