US State Department briefs press ahead of Syria meeting

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken looks on during a meeting with French President at the Elysee Palace in Paris on June 25, 2021. Blinken is on a week long trip in Europe traveling to Germany, Fran
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken looks on during a meeting with French President at the Elysee Palace in Paris on June 25, 2021. Blinken is on a week-long trip in Europe traveling to Germany, France and Italy. (Photo: AFP)
AMMAN — The US State Department on Friday held a debriefing ahead of a ministerial meeting slated for Monday on Syria and meeting the needs of Syrian refugees.اضافة اعلان

During the US State Department’s preview of the upcoming meeting, the United States’ assistance to Syrians was the main topic of discussion. However, the discussions also touched on the global coalition’s efforts to defeat any remnants of Daesh.

“We want to make this clear,” said acting director of the office of the special envoy to defeat Daesh, Patrick Worman. “The secretary will underscore the importance of meeting humanitarian needs throughout the country.”

The briefing stressed the United States’ commitment to achieving stability in Syria, particularly by working with “allies, partners, and the UN”.

The meeting, which will be hosted by US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and the Italian minister of foreign affairs, also marks the first time since February 2019 that all 83 members of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS will be meeting in-person.

President Biden is in support of maintaining the “small number of US forces in northeast Syria” to support local partners and prevent a resurgence of Daesh, according to Worman.

To defeat what remains of the terrorist group, the state department aims to “target remaining” Daesh cells, deny it sanctuary, and eliminate Deash media, finance, and facilitation networks, Worman added.

The United States’ long-standing “political and military partnership with the government of Iraq” has proven essential to recent successes in the combat against Daesh, and “will be key to any future successes”, said Worman.

However, despite extensive mentioning of “regional allies”, there was no mention of Jordan, a member of the coalition and a key regional player in the fight against Daesh.

Jordan’s significance as a coalition member lies in the fact that it hosts over 650,000 Syrian refugees, all of whom are part of the population that the department vowed to protect.

Worman did touch on the plight of refugees, citing the United States’ success in “facilitating the safe and voluntary return of over 4 million Iraqis to their homes.” He also expressed support for “internally displaced population” returns. However, there was no mention of the return of Syrian refugees from Jordan or from abroad.

The US State Department’s briefing focused on finding and maintaining stability not only by eliminating what’s left of Daesh, but also by promoting “community-based reconciliation”, pushing for a “nationwide ceasefire”, and by ensuring humanitarian agencies provide “basic psychological support” to Syrians displaced as the result of the conflict, with a “focus on more than 40,000 children.”

The department said it was therefore aware that concern over Syria stems beyond just the remnants of Daesh militants, and entails the need for “more in-depth psychosocial support, child-focused services, protection, and education activities.”

The press briefing was led by acting assistant secretary for the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, Joey Hood, and director of the office of Monetary Affairs in the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs, Susannah Cooper.

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