The White House said Friday that the US must accept the “political reality” in Syria and allow Syrians to determine the fate of President Bashar al-Assad.
Speaking at a briefing, press secretary Sean Spicer accused the Obama administration of missing an opportunity to force Assad’s ouster but said current circumstances now mean there’s a lack of options to force Assad to leave office.
“There is a bit of political reality with respect to where we are now, and where we were in the last administration,” Spicer said.
He said the US goal in Syria is now defeating ISIS.
If the US does definitively abandon the policy of requiring Assad’s departure – a position articulated by the Obama administration – it would put its policy closer in line with Russia, which supports Assad, and at odds with allies in Europe and in Turkey, where Secretary of State Rex Tillerson earlier this week downplayed frictions that are already straining that alliance.