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US working to discourage countries willing to normalize with Syria: Report

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
The undated file photo shows US troops in Syria.

The United States is actively working to discourage countries willing to normalize relations with Syria, according to a report.

The report, based on the summary of a recent UN Security Council meeting on Syria seen by al-Akhbar, shows that Washington has tried to draw “red lines” for countries seeking to normalize with Syria, return the Syrian refugees to their homeland, or help find a permanent solution to the crisis in the Arab country.

Regarding the return of refugees, the report said instead of encouraging a repatriation process, the United States is urging the host countries to “double their support” for refugee programs, despite the heavy social and economic burden the refugee crisis puts on some of these countries, most notably Lebanon.

Al-Akhbar said the European representatives present in the meeting conditioned their support for the reconstruction of Syria and the repatriation of refugees on Damascus accepting a “credible and comprehensive political process” – which is considered by many to mean a political process dictated by Washington.

The report said that the summary of the meeting, which was held on January 25, shows the US-led camp continues to block a rapprochement – facilitated by Russia and Iran – between Syria and Turkey.

Ankara resumed diplomatic contacts with Damascus late December, following a decade of severed ties in the wake of the crisis in Syria.

Turkey has now announced its willingness for a meeting between President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Syrian counterpart Bashar al-Assad.

A number of Arab countries have also resumed contact with Syria, including Oman and the United Arab Emirates.

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