US does not want to see Assad regime 'collapse', taken over by 'extremist elements'

"None of us, Russia, the United States, coalition, and regional states, wants to see a collapse of the government and political institutions in Damascus."

March 14, 2015 06:41
1 minute read.
Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) John Brennan.

Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) John Brennan.. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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The United States does not want to see the chaotic collapse of the Syrian regime, CIA Director John Brennan said on Friday, according to AFP.

Speaking at a Council on Foreign Relations event, Brennan, who took over the CIA's top spot in 2013, highlighted the possibility of a catastrophic breakdown whereby "extremist elements" seize power in Damascus.

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"I think that's a legitimate concern," Brennan said when asked about the possibility that jihadist groups may hijack the Syrian government.

"None of us, Russia, the United States, coalition, and regional states, wants to see a collapse of the government and political institutions in Damascus."

The White House has endorsed a transition of power in Syria in the past, expressing its support for moderate forces within the Syrian opposition whom it sees as possible successors to the Assad regime. But advances by more hardline groups have eclipsed any success enjoyed by  US sponsored rebels.

Earlier this month reports emerged that one of the moderate rebel forces that Washington had provided material support to disbanded in light of increased pressure and infighting between itself and Jabhat al-Nusra, al-Qaida's Syrian branch. Not only did the group dissolve, paving the way for the al-Qaida affiliate's increased influence, but its members had actually joined other Islamist groups out of desperation.

"That's why it's important to bolster those forces within the Syrian opposition that are not extremists," Brennan remarked on the uncertain nature of the armed oppositions resolve.

"The last thing we want to do is allow them to march into Damascus."

The US spy chief affirmed a multilateral vision for the war-torn country  that would include a reconciliation process and a "representative government that is going to try to address the grievances that exist throughout the country."

According to figures from the Britain based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, since the beginning of the war, some 210,000 Syrians have been killed in clashes between rebels and regime forces, with millions more displaced either inside Syria or beyond its borders.

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