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U.S. accepts fact Syria's Assad winning and staying: ex-ambassador

The former U.S. ambassador to Syria said Wednesday the U.S. has accepted the fact that Assad is winning and staying, the pan-Arab Mayadeen TV reported.

Former U.S. Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford said on Wednesday evening that the Syrian administration of President Bashar al-Assad is in its strongest military position in six years.

In contrast, the opposition, whether the political and military groups, are at their weakest, he said in a live interview with the pan-Arab Mayadeen TV.

Ford also said the Western and regional backers of the Syrian opposition have abandoned them.

Saudi Arabia has largely dwindled its support to the opposition, he added.

Ford, now a senior fellow at the Washington-based Middle East Institute, also said the Syrian opposition has made mistakes during the crisis.

The first mistake, he said, is that the moderates in the political and armed opposition have allowed the extremists to join their ranks.

The second mistake, Ford continued, is that the political opposition didn't present any clear political project that could be understood and accepted by the Syrians.

The Syrian civil war is declining, which is "a good thing," Ford noted.

He said Iran is helping the Russians to shrink the U.S. influence in the region, adding that the U.S. has, to some extent, lost in Syria.

Regarding the Kurds and the U.S. support to them in northern Syria, Ford remarked that the idea that the U.S. will militarily defend the Kurdish interest is wrong, warning that the Kurds shouldn't rely on the U.S. help but should embark on talks with the Damascus government directly.

Meanwhile, Ford said the Lebanese Hezbollah, which is fighting alongside the government forces, is a winner in the Syrian war, despite loss of many fighters.

The former ambassador also said the Syrian army reaching Deir al-Zour wasn't expected by the United States.

A day earlier, the Syrian army and its allies broke the siege of the IS militants to the city of Deir al-Zour amid intense battles to drive out them out of the area.

The army also seized large swathes of IS-held territories in the desert region near the Iraqi and Jordanian border.

Ford's remarks reflect the so-called change in the international stance toward Syria, which Assad attributed recently to the military victories achieved by the Syrian army on the ground, with the Syrian troops controlling all Syrian major cities.

[Source: Xinhua, Damascus, 06Sep17]

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