A number of countries supporting the Syrian opposition met in Bonn today on the sidelines of a G20 gathering to discuss and test the US’ position on the conflict days before resuming negotiations in Geneva between the rivalling parties.
It is the first meeting of the countries supporting the Syrian opposition, comprising of nearly 20 Western and Arab countries along with Turkey, since President Donald Trump officially took office.
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will, once again, be the focus of his diplomatic partners’ attention who are concerned with finding out Washington’s position on the bloody and very complicated conflict.
A senior French diplomat said with regards to combatting Daesh, “we are assured that the American commitments remain the same, but it will be an opportunity to gauge the American position on the political aspect of the Syrian issue.”
Trump has reiterated that combatting Daesh is a priority and he ordered the Pentagon to put a new strategy in place by the end of February. He is specifically thinking about enhancing cooperation with the Russians in bombing the militant organisation.
The French diplomat added, “The Americans will gradually realise that fighting [Daesh] also requires other options in the region and a long-term vision.”
The other country concerning the pro-opposition countries is Turkey, who backs the armed opposition and has been extremely hostile against the Bashar Al-Assad regime for years.
However, Ankara, which has intervened militarily in northern Syria, has become closer to Moscow, Damascus’ ally. In this regard, Turkey is sponsoring a very delicate ceasefire, along with Iran and Russia. They are also sponsoring negotiations in Kazakhstan that has not made any remarkable progress so far.
German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said: “What we need is unity so we can achieve the resumption of negotiations in Geneva between the different interest groups and parties to the Syrian conflict.”
Another European diplomat stated that their “goal is to make sure to bring the [peace] process back under UN control.”