• Unauthorized foreign presence on Syria soil unacceptable: Deputy FM

Syria says the foreign forces who have made their way into the country and established bases there without the consent of Damascus are occupiers and should leave Syrian soil.

According to reports, Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal al-Mekdad said it is “unacceptable” for any foreign troops to have a presence on the Syrian soil without the government’s approval, adding that Damascus will deal with this issue as a case of “occupation.”

Mekdad was referring to the presence of American and Turkish forces in Syria, whose respective countries have refused to pull them out in defiance of Damascus’ warnings.

Turkey and the US have also their own troops on the ground in Syria.

The comments come days after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says Turkey is to keep up its so-called Euphrates Shield military operation in northern Syria, which serves to keep US-backed Kurdish militants away from its borders.

Mekdad called the Turkish presence “invasive,” and urged Ankara to stop intervening in Damascus’ affairs.

The United States led scores of its allies in an invasion of Syria in 2014, claiming it sought to root out the Takfiri terror group of Daesh. The mission had no Syrian or UN mandate.

Russia: US blocking aid flow

Also on Friday, Russia’s Foreign Ministry said the Rukban refugee camp around al-Tanf, which houses an estimated 60,000 Syrian refugees, was “de-facto occupied by the US armed forces,” with access to the district denied to the country’s lawful authorities, Russia Today reported.

All limitations on the access of humanitarian convoys to the camp had to be lifted, the ministry emphasized.

It stressed “the need to respect the sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence of Syria in the implementation of humanitarian deliveries and the observance of international humanitarian law.”

It further said, “The training of militants from illegal Syrian armed groups continues at the US strongholds in the area.”

 ‘UN envoy not serious’

The Syrian official, meanwhile, criticized the UN Syria envoy, Staffan de Mistura for not being “serious in resolving Syria’s crisis.”


Jan 12, 2018 13:47 UTC