The United States Ambassador to the United Nations said on Wednesday that Washington supported efforts to bring peace to Syria, and stressed that any agreement must “get Iran and their proxies” out of the embattled country, Radio Free Europe reported.
After attending a Security Council briefing on a recently-concluded round of peace talks in Geneva, Nikki Haley said that international efforts were now focused on finding “a political solution” to the conflict.
“And that basically means that Syria can no longer be a safe haven for terrorists, we’ve got to make sure we get Iran and their proxies out, we’ve got to make sure that, as we move forward, we’re securing the borders for our allies as well,” she added.
Iran is a major backer of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, using both its own forces and Shiite proxies, including the terrorist group Hezbollah, to help bolster his regime.
Following the ousting of rebel forces from Aleppo in December, which was aided by some 5,000 Shiite fighters supervised by Iran, Islamic Revolutionary Guard Crops-Qods Force commander Qassem Soleimani was photographed in the devastated city, in violation of a UN-imposed travel ban.
According to Amir Touraj, a research analyst at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, “Soleimani has executed Iranian strategy in Syria since the popular uprisings in 2011. He was the point man who personally negotiated with President Vladimir Putin Russia’s military intervention in September 2015, according to unnamed security officials who spoke with Reuters.”
Later in December, another Iranian official acknowledged the role that the Islamic Republic and Russia played in propping up the Assad regime. Ali Shamkhani, the secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, told Iranian media that there is “a shared base in Syria where Iran, with Russia’s help, does advisory work to help the Syrian army and the [pro-Assad] resistance forces.”
Earlier this week, Haley told Palestinian Authority Ambassador Riyad Mansour that his government should “meet with Israel in direct negotiations rather than looking to the UN to deliver results that can only be achieved through the two parties.”
[Photo: Rudaw / YouTube ]