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US Syria envoy dubs Iran ‘biggest challenge’

January 12, 2020 at 3:00 pm

Former US Special Representative for Syria James Jeffrey in Washington, US on 22 May 2019 [Yasin Öztürk/Anadolu Agency]

US Special Envoy for Syria James Jeffrey on Saturday dubbed Iran as the “biggest challenge”,  Anadolu Agency reports.

“The Trump administration has made it very clear that it is taking a very strong position on pushing back on Iran,” Jeffrey told a small group of journalists in Istanbul on Saturday.

“The biggest challenge at the moment is, of course, Iran. Because Daesh, […] the territorial Caliphate has been destroyed,” he added.

“But Daesh poses very serious risks to Iraq […] and considerable threat to Syria. Not so much in the northeast where we are, but to the south of the Euphrates River. We’re very concerned about Daesh,” he added.

READ: Iraq officially asks US to initiate troop withdrawal

Last week, General Qasem Soleimani, the head of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps’ (IRGC) elite Quds Force, was killed in a US drone strike in Baghdad.

His death marked a dramatic escalation in tensions between the US and Iran, which have often been at a fever pitch since President Donald Trump chose in 2018 to unilaterally withdraw Washington from a 2015 nuclear pact world powers struck with Tehran.

Earlier this week, Iran’s IRGC launched more than a dozen ballistic missiles against US military and coalition forces in Iraq.