BEIRUT, LEBANON (3:45 P.M.) – The U.S. envoy to Syria, James Jeffrey, said at a press conference on Tuesday that Washington is seeking a no-fly-zone over Syria that resembles the one imposed on Iraq in the 1990’s.
“Remember we were present not in northern Iraq but over northern Iraq in Operation Northern Watch for 13 years. That can be a UN force,” he said on Tuesday.
Jeffrey said that the U.S. came up with this idea during a “small group” meeting on Syria with Germany, France, Great Britain, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Egypt.
The U.S. diplomat said that the no-fly-zone could be observed by a joint U.N. force.
“That can be a UN force. Under 2254 there is language on a UN-managed and operated ceasefire. That can be partner forces. That can be other countries’ forces,” he said.
Jeffrey then turned his attention to Iran, who he said plays a factor in whether or not the U.S. will continue to be present in Syria.
“When we say we’re going to be present not forever in Syria but present until our conditions – enduring defeat of ISIL, as was said earlier, the withdrawal of all Iranian-commanded forces from the entirety of Syria, and an irreversible political process,” he added.