First Published: 2017-11-14

US will stay in Syria, Iraq until talks progress
Defense Secretary: We're not just going to walk away right now until the Geneva Process has traction.
Middle East Online

US soldiers in Iraq

WASHINGTON - A US-led coalition will forge ahead in its fight against the Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq until a UN peace process makes further headway, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Monday.

"We're not just going to walk away right now until the Geneva Process has traction," he told reporters.

"You need to do something about this mess now, not just fight the military part of it and then say good luck on the rest."

The former marine general added that the coalition's goal had always been to fight IS while finding a diplomatic solution to end the Syrian civil war.

"We are going to make sure we set the conditions for a diplomatic solution," he said.

His comments come after the US and Russia issued a joint statement Saturday saying there was "no military solution" to the Syrian conflict.

"The presidents affirmed their commitment to Syria's sovereignty, unity, independence, territorial integrity and non-sectarian character," it said, while calling on all parties to participate in UN-led talks in Geneva.

A new round of negotiations is scheduled to take place from November 28, a process headed by the UN special envoy on Syria, Staffan de Mistura.

Seven previous sessions between the Syrian regime and the opposition failed to overcome the main obstacle -- the fate of President Bashar al-Assad.

More than 330,000 people have been killed in Syria since the conflict began in March 2011 with anti-government protests.

 

Sudan clamps down on journalists covering bread protests

Egypt's Sisi says will stand for re-election

Turkey launches new strikes on Kurdish targets in Syria

Pence heads to Mideast despite Muslim, Christian anger

US to overtake Saudi as world’s second crude oil producer

Iraqi, Kurdish leaders hold talks on bitter regional dispute

Russia-led Syria peace congress to be held January 30

Assad regime says Syria a 'tourist' destination

Journalists arrested while reporting Sudan protests

Aid for millions of Palestinians hostage to politics

Lebanon thwarts holiday attacks using IS informant

Mortar fire wounds 14 in Syria mental hospital

Turkish military fires on Kurdish forces in Syria's Afrin

More than 32,000 Yemenis displaced in intensified fighting

UN warns of "lost generation" in South Sudan's grinding conflict

Saudi's refined oil exports offset crude curbs

Turkey's EU minister rejects any option other than full membership

Tribal feuds spread fear in Iraq's Basra

Turkey says not reassured by US comments on border force

UN chief wants to revive Syria gas attack probe

US has no intention to build border force in Syria

Lebanese intelligence service may be spying using smartphones worldwide

Egypt's Sisi sacks intelligence chief

Trump dashes Netanyahu’s hope to move US embassy to Jerusalem

Cyprus denies bail for Israeli organ trafficker

Rising Yemen currency sparks hopes of relief

Turkish ministries to investigate underage pregnancy cover-up

Iraq PM launches online appeal for election allies

Iran central bank sees claim for billions from German stock market blocked

Iraq signs deal with BP to develop Kirkuk oil fields

Israeli occupation forces raid Jenin, kill Palestinian

HRW chief says 'Nobody should be forcibly returned to Libya'

IS poses threat to Iraq one month after 'liberation'

Seven years since ousting dictator, Tunisians still protest

Iran says Trump jeopardising Airbus deals

China says Iranian oil tanker wreck located

Sudan arrests communist leader after protests

Syrian opposition joins condemnation of US 'border force'

Israeli judge detains teen until trial for viral ‘slap video’

Arab league slams US freeze of Palestinian funding

Dubai billionaire to sell 15 percent Damac stake

Britain to put women at heart of peace work in Iraq, Nigeria, South Sudan

Saudi to give Yemen government $2bn bailout

US withholds $65 million from UN agency for Palestinians

Saudi Arabia intercepts new Yemen rebel missile attack