Syrian FM urges US, Turkey to withdraw troops from Syria

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US forces drive a Humvee as they patrol the roads surrounding the northern Syrian city of Manbij, March 3, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

The US and Turkey have deployed their troops in Syria without any mandate and have still refused to withdraw them, despite Damascus’ warnings.

Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal al-Mekdad has urged Ankara and Washington to withdraw their troops from Syria, dubbing the presence “invasive.”

The presence of foreign forces on Syrian soil without permission from Damascus is “unacceptable” and will be regarded as an “occupation,” the top official said Friday as quoted by PressTV media outlet.

At the same time, al-Mekdad criticized UN Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura for “doing nothing” to solve the Syrian crisis.

The statement comes several days after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Turkey would continue its Euphrates Shield military operation in Syria’s Afrin and Manbij regions.

Turkey launched its Euphrates Shield Operation in Syria back in 2016, aiming at the elimination of Daesh terrorists in the northern part of the country. In March 2017, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim announced the successful completion of the operation, but left its forces in the region to continue military operations against Syria’s armed Kurdish groups.

At the same time, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement earlier this week that “United States’ claims that their troops are allegedly in Syria to fight terrorists are unconvincing and do not stand up to criticism.”

The ministry also noted that the Rukban refugee camp on the Syrian-Jordanian border was de-facto controlled by the US armed forces and the entrance to which was effectively banned for the Syrian government forces or representatives of Damascus.

The US began its anti-Daesh operation in Syria in 2014, without obtaining a mandate from either Damascus or the UN.



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