U.S. special envoy for Syria James Jeffrey has said that there will be no change in the troop presence in Syria regardless of who wins the U.S. presidential elections.
When asked a question on U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East following the elections, especially regarding Iran, Jeffrey said that he can't say in advance what the differences would be if Donald Trump or Joe Biden is elected.
"What I can say is, particularly on our Syria account, I see no change in our troop presence, I see no change in our sanctions policy, I see no change in our demand that Iran leave Syria, be it with a Biden administration or Trump one," Jeffrey told Syria Direct in an interview.
The envoy was also asked to comment on what the U.S. stance would be if Turkey launches another offensive in northern Syria, mainly how the administration would "reassure its Kurdish allies."
"We have issued a statement pointing out that we have an agreement with the Turks and that any military movement would violate it. We've made that clear once again publicly. We make it clear all of the time privately to the Turks," Jeffrey said, adding that there are no signs that Turkey is preparing for an offensive.
"We have seen no sign of a Turkish preparation for a military movement, nor have we seen any actions or provocations or alleged provocations by the Syrian Democratic Forces [SDF] that would justify any Turkish reaction. So for the moment, we think that the situation is very likely to continue as it has been," he added.Turkey withdrawing from large military post in northwest Syria: Report
The U.S. wants to see the SDF and the Kurdish National Council unite in opposition to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Jeffrey said, noting that it also seeks to see the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) leave Syria.
"One of the issues that is present in the Syrian Kurdish community, of course, is the role of the PKK in Syria. We consider the PKK a terrorist organization. We want to see the PKK cadre leave Syria," the envoy said.
"That is a major reason why there is tension with Turkey in the northeast, we want to reduce that tension because in all other areas other than the northeast, we have very close coordination with Turkey on the Syrian situation," he added.
The SDF is spearheaded by the People's Protection Units (YPG), which is considered a terrorist organization by Turkey due to it being the Syrian branch of the PKK.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said last week that Turkey had the legitimate right to act again if militants are not cleared from its border with Syria, where it has carried out several incursions in the last four years.
"If the terrorists here are not cleared as we were promised, we have the legitimate right to mobilise once again," Erdoğan said.
During the interview, Jeffrey said that Ankara "has real concerns about the makeup of the SDF and the presence of the PKK," while noting that the solution is to "work to reduce and eventually eliminate that presence."
"That is why we support the Kurdish talks. But those are Kurdish-Kurdish talks, not talks for the governance of northeast Syria, which requires, of course, a role for the Arab communities," he said.PKK, YPG militants fighting for Armenia against Azerbaijan, Erdoğan tells Putin