US-led coalition: we won’t allow Iran to jeopardize our gains in fight against ISIS in Syria

ARA News 25 June 2017 – Brett McGurk, Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIS, said that Iran cannot be allowed to ‘jeopardize our gains’ amidst increasing tensions between the US and Iran over control of the Syrian-Iraqi border.

“Because ISIS, as it loses territory, recruits, and appeal, will seek to attack Israel. We must do all we can and we will do all we can to ensure we defeat those designs,” he said during a conference in Israel on Friday.“Nor can we allow Iran to jeopardize our gains and fuel instability in ISIS’s wake, by placing foreign proxies anywhere near the border regions with Jordan and Israel,” he said.On 20 June, a US aircraft shot down a pro-Syrian regime Iranian Unmanned Aerial Vehicle advancing on Coalition forces in Southern Syria.Moreover, the US-led coalition shot down a Syrian government jet near Raqqa that was threatening the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces. The US also carried out an air raid against Iranian-backed fighters in Southern Syria last week.

“Our core coalition principle, and its remained consistent throughout, is that local people, Syrians and Iraqis, local to their particular village, town, or city, should be in charge of their areas after ISIS is defeated – not foreigners,” McGurk said.

“All foreign fighters should leave Syria, period, whether fighting with Nusra or ISIS or Hezbollah. Any other formula fuels the conflict, places innocent Syrians between crossfires on their own land, and encourages extremists and spoilers on all sides,” he added.

“So as we go forward, we call on all parties with influence in Syria to prioritize the fight against ISIS while de-escalating the civil war, whether through local agreements or defined de-escalation areas, to set conditions for a political horizon and ultimate settlement,” the coalition envoy said in a message to Iran and the Syrian government.

In the meantime, Syrian Kurdish leader and co-head of the PYD, Salih Muslim, has said that Iran is opposing the rights of Kurds in Syria.“We have no relations with Iran, and Iran’s policy is no different from that of the Syrian regime on the Kurdish issue, which is hostile to the Kurds’ fundamental rights,” he told the Saudi Riyadh news site. “They fear that the Kurds will gain their fights in Syria, and the Iranian and Syrian regime have the same position [on the Kurds],” he said.