US will not 'normalise or upgrade' ties with Syria's Assad

Comment comes in response to opening of border crossing between Syria and Jordan

Trucks enter Syria through the Nassib/Jaber border post with Jordan on the day of its reopening, on September 29, 2021, after two months of closure due to fighting in southern Syria. AP
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The United States has no plans to “normalise or upgrade” diplomatic relations with the government of Syrian President Bashar Al Assad and does not encourage others to do so, a State Department spokesperson has said.

The comments came in response to the rapprochement between Jordan and Syria after Jordan fully reopened its main border crossing with Syria on Wednesday.

“The United States will not normalise or upgrade our diplomatic relations with the Assad regime nor do we encourage others to do so, given the atrocities inflicted by the Assad regime on the Syrian people,” a State Department spokesperson said. “Assad has regained no legitimacy in our eyes, and there is no question of the US normalising relations with his government at this time.”

Officials in Jordan, a US ally, and Lebanon have urged Washington to ease sanctions on Syria.

“We believe that stability in Syria, and the greater region, can only be achieved through a political process that represents the will of all Syrians and we are committed to working with allies, partners, and the UN to ensure that a durable political solution remains within reach,” the State Department spokesperson said.

The US has suspended its diplomatic presence in Syria since 2012.

With other Middle Eastern countries as well as Russia having normalised relations with the Assad regime, Jordan has been driven to boost ties with the Syrian president, diplomats in Amman have said.

The softening of relations between Jordan and Syria was a move to boost the countries' struggling economies and reinforce a push by Arab states to reintegrate Syria after shunning it during its civil war.

Despite the relaxation of restrictions, the flow of traffic across the border was subdued, with only a small number of vehicles making the trip across the Jaber-Nassib crossing in Syria's south-west.

In related news, the Jordanian authorities on Tuesday announced the restart of direct flights to Syria.

Updated: September 30, 2021, 5:34 AM