Syrian President Bashar al-Assad (left) meets with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin. (Russian Presidency)

US Vows to Prevent Assad Victory in Syria

The United States has vowed to block President Bashar al-Assad from achieving a full victory in war-torn Syria and urged Damascus to return to the negotiating table in order to reach a political solution to end the near-decadelong conflict. The threat comes as the so-called Caesar Act, passed by Congress last year, is set to take effect on Wednesday. The US law would sanction American companies that do business with the Syrian government and suspends reconstruction assistance from Washington. US Ambassador to the UN Keely Craft concurrently insisted that Syria abide by Security Council Resolution 2254, which was passed in 2015 and called for an immediate ceasefire followed by elections that would lead to a transitional administration in Damascus. “The Trump Administration will take decisive steps to prevent the Assad regime from securing a military victory, and to steer the regime and its allies back toward special envoy [Geir] Pedersen and the UN-led political process,” Craft said. Assad, with the backing of Russia and Iran, has over the past two years succeeded in recapturing much of Syria, save for areas in the east controlled by US-supported Kurdish forces as well as the northern Idlib Province that remains largely in the hands of Turkish-backed Islamist rebels. The war is estimated to have killed some 400,000 people and displaced well over 10 million others.

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