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Top US official on Syria and Daesh retires

US Special Representative for Syria James Jeffrey answers questions at House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, şn Washington, United States on 22 May 2019. [Yasin Öztürk - Anadolu Agency]
US Special Representative for Syria James Jeffrey in Washington, US on 22 May 2019 [Yasin Öztürk/Anadolu Agency]

The US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced yesterday that James Jeffrey, the State Department's special envoy for Syria engagement and the global coalition to defeat Daesh, will retire from his role this month.

The announcement came the same day the Trump administration said it would impose new sanctions against Syrian officials and entities for their role in facilitating human rights abuses over the course of the country's nearly decade long civil war.

Jeffrey is a former US ambassador to Baghdad and Ankara, the Turkish-speaking diplomat has been a key go-between with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The United States yesterday imposed new sanctions targeting Syria's oil sector, lawmakers and intelligence officers, vowing no let-up in pressure on Bashar Al-Assad despite his gains on the ground.

The State Department said it was imposing the latest sanction in memory of the more than 70 civilians killed in an October 2015 bombing of a market place in Douma, a city near Damascus then under opposition control that was hit three years later by a chemical attack, according to a United Nations probe.

US says it seeks to eliminate PKK presence in Syria

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