Syria will never be stable and secure as long as President Bashar al-Assad is in power, the US said on Tuesday, underlining that his regime has sunk to a "new level of depravity".
"The Trump administration believes that Syria's political future should be decided by Syrians in a free, credible and transparent process. However, we also believe that in a free process it's unimaginable that Syrians would choose to continue under the Assad leadership," White House press secretary Sean Spicer told reporters at his daily news conference.
"Syria will never be stable and secure as long as Assad is in power. The Assad regime has sunk to a new level of depravity, and it has done so with seemingly unconditional support from Russia and Iran," he said.
For these reasons, the United States continue to support the political transition process contained in UN security resolution 2254, and support the political process taking place under UN oversight in Geneva, he said.
The United States remains open to working together with both Russia and Iran to find a solution that leads to a stable and united Syria, he said.
"But in order for us to work together to bring an end to the violence in Syria, Russia and Iran need to acknowledge the atrocities of the Assad regime and use their influence to stop them," he added.
Meanwhile, Pentagon spokesman Captain Jeff Davis told reporters that northern Syria, US and coalition advisers are continuing their operations to defeat Islamic State (IS).
The Syrian Democratic Forces is a multi-ethnic and multi-sectarian force that's fighting IS, often to liberate their own hometowns in northern Syria, and were providing training and equipment to the Syrian Arab Coalition, which is a predominantly Arab component of the SDF.
"To date, we've trained more than 6,000 members of the Syrian Arab Coalition. Since the SDF began beating back IS in northern Syria, they have liberated more than 35,700 square kilometres from IS in Syria," he added.
"That's why when you hear us talk about the SDF being the most effective force in fighting IS since Syria, the numbers prove.
"They have not been matched by any other partner, any other party or player on the ground in terms of their ability to defeat ISIS and reclaim territory and liberate it," he said.
"This retaking of Tabqa and the liberation of the Tabqa Dam, a very strategic dam, the largest hydroelectric plant in Syria, is an important operation that we're doing in preparation for isolating Raqqa, the Raqqa isolation," Davis said, adding that Raqqa is the capital of the caliphate for IS and taking Tabqa back is a critical part of that.
Updated Date: May 16, 2017 11:09 AM