DAMASCUS (Dispatches) – A top U.S. diplomat has admitted that Washington rebranded a Syria-based al-Qaeda affiliation as a U.S. "asset” in order to pursue hegemonic policy in the Middle East.
James Jeffrey, who has served as a U.S. ambassador under both Republican and Democratic administrations – most recently as former U.S. president Donald Trump’s special representative for Syria and later as the special envoy to the so-called global anti-Daesh coalition – said the Syria-based al-Qaeda-affiliated militant group known today as the Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) terrorist group was "an asset” to the U.S. in its efforts to destabilize Bashar Assad’s democratically-elected government.
Jeffrey told FRONTLINE reporter Martin Smith that Idlib was one of the most important locations in the Middle East war.
"They are the least bad option of the various options on Idlib, and Idlib is one of the most important places in Syria, which is one of the most important places right now in the Middle East,” he said in the March 8 interview.
The U.S. State Department had said that the group’s ringleader, Abu Mohammad al-Jolani, aimed to topple Assad’s government, making him an ally for the U.S.
The U.S. has supported al-Qaeda in Syria, Libya and Yemen.
‘U.S. Biggest Violator of Human Rights’
Syria says the United States’ latest annual report on human rights around the world is based on "delusions and lies” and represents the "height of hypocrisy” as Washington itself is the largest rights violator both inside and outside its borders.
Earlier this week, the U.S. State Department released the 2020 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices.
On release of the report, Secretary of State Antony Blinken painted a grave picture of human rights in multiple countries and regions throughout the world.
Regarding Syria, the report accused the government of President Bashar al-Assad of "atrocities” against the Syrian people. "Assad’s atrocities against the people of Syria continued unabated, and this year marks ten years of their struggles to live in dignity and freedom,” it claimed.
In a statement on Saturday, Syrian Foreign and Expatriates Ministry dismissed the allegations, saying they have all been taken from reports by terrorist organizations and their supporters and financiers in the region and beyond.
It said the report did not address the real tragedy facing the Syrian people, characterized by terrorism and its financing by the U.S. -- which is now openly plundering Syrian oil and wheat.