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The United States wants Syrian President Bashar al-Assad “killed and out of the way” and the government replaced with a pro-Western one, a political commentator says.

Chicago-based author and radio host Stephen Lendman made the remarks in an interview with Press TV on Wednesday, while commenting on a meeting between US Secretary of State John Kerry and a group of US diplomats who had earlier signed an internal memo calling for airstrikes against the Syrian government.

The meeting, held in Kerry’s office in Washington, lasted for about half an hour, during which Kerry briefed the “dissent channel” diplomats on his work in Syria, State Department spokesman John Kirby said on Tuesday.

An intentionally-leaked memo, signed last week by 51 State Department officials involved with advising on Syria policy, called for targeted strikes against the government.

Lendman called the group members “hawkish neocons” who are pushing the administration of President Barack Obama to take a “harsher action” in the war-ravaged country.

“They want America to directly get involved in conducting airstrikes on the Syrian government, which would mean on its military, its military sites, maybe its military bases, maybe on targets in Damascus, maybe where Bashar al-Assad is located; maybe directly kill him,” Lendmann said. “I’m certain America wants him killed,”

The neocons’ measure means they seek a “more aggressive policy” against the country, gripped with violence and Takfiri militancy since 2011.

Who decides?

A US war on Syria, however, will be decided by the US State Department, according to Lendman, but Kerry still “has to go along with what the administration is doing.”

“Usually, the State Department takes the lead in forming foreign policy but… other people [get] involved, so they come up with a good census on exactly what they’re doing.”

The analyst speculated that the US current policy on Syria would remain untouched.

Kirby said Tuesday that Kerry took the memo seriously, although it is not expected to prompt any major shift in the current strategy in Syria.

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