Newly appointed US Special Envoy for Syria Mr Joel Rayburn held a press conference 3rd December to address the situation in the North and East of Syria. During the press conference the special envoy was asked by the Rojava Information Centre if the US had any mechanisms in place to deter a Turkish invasion of the areas where the US no longer has a direct presence on the ground.
US Special Envoy Joel Rayburn replied the the October 2019 ceasefire agreement was a very important agreement in halting the conflict in north-east Syria and that it was important for the ceasefire agreement to be maintained. He admitted there were ‘periodic tensions’ along the borders of northern Syria but stated that they had not observed the kind of major clashes that would indicate an abandonment of ceasefire agreement.
However, he continued, “For us, we remain ready to use our leverage, if we have to, things like sanctions, to help to preserve that ceasefire agreement. There are some actors that would like to destabilise the ceasefire arrangement in north-eastern Syria. Clearly, ISIS has an interest in that. There are some other groups, too, that carry out attacks. We think attacks along that line should cease for the good of the Syrian people. If there are local disputes along that line, they need to be solved politically.”
When asked, again by the Rojava Information Centre, about how he sees the political situation in North East Syria the special envoy’s answer was interesting and diplomatic.
“As far as the political situation in the north-east, the political fate of north-eastern Syria needs to be resolved in the broader political process. The people of the north-east should have a voice in that political process, and should be part of the conversation among all Syrians in the Geneva political process. In the US we don’t make a political distinction about a separate political future [for the various regions of Syria]… we have a policy that Syria’s territorial integrity and unity needs to be preserved.” Was his reply.