by Jordan Hilger, Worthy News Correspondent
(Worthy News) - US State Department Special Representative for Syria James Jeffrey testified Wednesday before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on the Trump Administration’s Syria strategy moving forward following possible chlorine gas attacks by the Assad regime against rebel targets Sunday.
“The enduring defeat of ISIS, the removal of all Iranian-led forces from Syria, and the resolution of the Syrian crisis through a political solution” involving democratic elections held under UN supervision remain the Trump administration’s three major objectives in the Syrian conflict, Jeffrey said.
Members of Congress sought assurances from the special representative about Trump’s apparent desire to totally withdraw all US troops from Syria, which he committed to do in December of last year, in light of Assad’s continued use of chemical weapons and the vested interests of US allies in the region in the outcome of the war.
“American presence is absolutely essential in Syria,” said Texas Rep. Michael McCaul, the top Republican on the Foreign Affairs Committee, who was one of the 400 members of Congress to sign a letter to Trump Monday asking for the US to consider Israel’s regional interests in its withdrawal from Syria.
Jeffrey and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Sochi last Tuesday, a conversation Pompeo called “very productive” and indicative of progress toward US-Russia cooperation in the Syrian conflict.