Iran Daily’s correspondent in Pakistan
The Syrian government has strongly condemned the recent visit of a US delegation to northern Syria, calling it a destabilizing move for the region. The delegation, led by Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Ethan A. Goldrich, visited areas controlled by Western-backed anti-Damascus armed groups this month.
The Syrian Foreign Ministry decried the visit as illegal and a clear infringement on Syria’s sovereignty, also citing violations of international law and United Nations Security Council resolutions. Notably, some Kurdish regions in northern Syria are under the sway of US-supported separatist militias, such as the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which receive material and financial backing from various countries, including the United States.
The US military occupies roughly half of Dayr al-Zawr Province, with Syrian government forces in control of the other half. The US maintains influence over oil-rich Syrian territories through the SDF. President Biden’s statement that the US military has not fully withdrawn from these areas contradicts these ongoing operations. Moreover, the SDF is actively working toward establishing an independent state in Syria, as well as in Kurdish-majority areas in Turkey. The Syrian government accuses the United States of using the SDF to fuel instability in the region. The SDF, created in 2015 with US support, includes Kurdish separatists and other ethnocentric factions that resist Arab and Turkish governance.
The Syrian Foreign Ministry said that the visit of a senior US official is not merely an intrusion into internal affairs but also an indication of the United States’ hostile intentions toward Damascus, warning of severe consequences.
Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Goldrich said that the visit aimed to “discuss the way forward in Syria” and to “support the Syrian people”.
The visit is expected to further strain the already tenuous relations between the US and Syria, which have been at odds since the outset of the war in the country in 2011.
In addition to Syria, the Arab League has criticized the US delegation's visit, citing it as a violation of Syria's sovereignty and a refusal to support any actions that might destabilize the nation.
The timing of this visit is significant, given Syria's mounting international pressure, with calls from the United Nations for an end to violence and national reunification. While the exact repercussions of the visit remain uncertain, it is evident that it has stirred outrage from the Syrian government and the Arab League. Despite the US support for armed groups deemed terrorists by Syria, the United States has struggled to achieve its objectives in Syria, with the SDF, its primary ally, seemingly encouraged to foster instability in both Turkey and Syria, potentially reigniting conflict in the region.