Washington DC [United States], Jan 18 (ANI): The United States has intended to maintain an open-ended military presence in Syria to fight terrorist groups, stand up to Iran's growing influence and pave the way for an end to the regime of Syrian leader Bashar Assad.
In his Stanford speech, Tillerson laid out five US goals in Syria: the defeat of IS and al-Qaida, a UN-brokered resolution for Syria that involved Bashar al-Assad's departure, a curb on Iran, conditions for the safe return of refugees, and the complete elimination of remaining chemical weapons, reported the Guardian.
A U.S. withdrawal would likely have disastrous consequences, Tillerson said.
"Total withdrawal would restore Assad and continue brutal treatment of his own people," he added.
"Assad's regime is corrupt, and his methods of governance and economic development have increasingly excluded certain ethnic and religious groups," Tillerson said, "Such oppression cannot persist forever."
Speaking to the audience that included former Secretaries of State Condoleezza Rice and George Shultz, Tillerson said, "We cannot make the same mistakes that were made in 2011."
"A murderer of his own people cannot generate the support required for long-term stability," he said. "A stable, unified and independent Syria ultimately requires post-Assad leadership in order to be successful."
Tillerson acknowledged that as long as Syrian refugees did not feel safe enough to go home, the Syrian conflict would continue to destabilise the Middle East and Europe. Thus, the US presence would also be geared to creating the conditions for safe return. (ANI)