The U.S. doesn’t want the regime to control northeast Syria after the withdrawal of U.S. troops, a senior official said on Sunday.

Speaking at the Munich Security conference, James Jeffrey, the U.S. special envoy for Syria, said Washington’s goals in northeast Syria have not changed.

“They involve first of all maintaining the security in that region, which means we are not at all in favor of the regime coming back in because the regime does not promote stability, it promotes instability as we have seen in other areas”, he said.

Jeffrey also said the U.S. will not make an abrupt and rapid withdrawal of its troops from northeast Syria.

“It is going to be an orderly, step-by-step withdrawal, and at each point, at each phase, we are going to look at our underlying goals,” he said.

Turkey has long criticized the U.S. for backing the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in northeast Syria, which was controlled by the terrorist PKK/YPG group.

The PKK, which is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU, waged a terror campaign against Turkey for more than 30 years and has been responsible for the death of nearly 40,000 people. The YPG is its Syrian offshoot.