In an appearance on Sunday’s “Face the Nation” on CBS, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson reaffirmed that the Trump administration’s top priority in the Middle East was still to take out the Islamic State group, in spite of this week’s missile strikes against the Bashar Assad regime in Syria.
Even though Tillerson acknowledged that the Islamic State group needed to be defeated before the Assad regime was dealt with, he acknowledged that he hoped negotiations could take place to stabilize the country.
“Our priority in Syria, John, really hasn’t changed,” Tillerson said. “I think the president has been quite clear. First and foremost, we must defeat ISIS. And I would say that the military progress both in Syria and in Iraq has been remarkable since President (Donald) Trump’s inauguration.
“By defeating ISIS and removing their caliphate from their control, we’ve now eliminated at least or minimized a particular threat not just to the United States, but to the whole stability in the region,” Tillerson added. “Once the ISIS threat has been reduced or eliminated, I think we can turn our attention directly to stabilizing the situation in Syria.”
In terms of Assad’s future, Tillerson was somewhat more vague.
“We’re hopeful that we can prevent a continuation of the civil war and that we can bring the parties to the table to begin the process of political discussions,” the secretary of state said. “Clearly, that requires the participation of the regime and, with the support of their allies, and we’re hopeful that Russia will choose to play a constructive role in supporting ceasefires through their own Astana talks, but also, ultimately, through Geneva.”
According to The Daily Caller, as late as last Thursday, Tillerson had advocated Assad stepping aside from power.
“Assad’s role in the future is uncertain, clearly, and with the acts that he has taken, it would seem that there would be no role for him to govern the Syrian people,” Tillerson said.
However, one thing was certain from Tillerson’s appearance — the Trump administration still plans to deal a crushing blow to the Islamic State group.
Please like and share on Facebook and Twitter and let us know what you think the U.S. should do about Syria.
What do you think the Trump administration should do in Syria? Scroll down to comment below!