US Envoy Claims Sanctions Forcing Iran Out of Syria

Jeffrey dismissed reports of Iran changes just a few days prior

US envoy to Syria James Jeffrey is struggling to stake out a position on Iran’s presence in Syria, whether it is changing, and why that might be happening. This began with claims from Israeli officials last week that they believe Iran is withdrawing from Syria because of all the Israeli attacks recently.

Jeffrey almost immediately chimed in to throw doubt into that, saying the US saw no evidence of Iran making changes to their commitments in Syria, and that Israel might force them briefly out of some areas, but there was broadly no change.

In new comments on Tuesday, Jeffrey flipped his entire narrative, not mentioning Israel at all, claiming Iran is scaling back its presence in Syria significant, and then claiming that it is thanks to President Trump’s sanctions against them.

It’s difficult to prove or disprove any of this, since the claims of “Iranians in Syria” rests heavily on other Shi’ite militias being misidentified, and Iran maintains they only have a small number of advisers in the country.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.