ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – Syria will “act accordingly” to defend against Turkey’s invasion in northern Syria and a long-term American presence on Syrian soil, an official said on Thursday.
In an interview with the BBC, deputy foreign minister Faisal Mekdad stated Syria had “every right” to answer Turkey’s aggression on its northern border.
“The Turkish invasion is an open violation of the sovereignty of Syria, an aggression,” Mekdad asserted. “Syria has the right to defend itself, and we have said that we shall use all possible means to answer the attacks of the Turkish regime.”
On Saturday, Ankara launched an offensive against the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) in the Afrin area in Syrian Kurdistan (Rojava).
The deputy minister said the Syrian government had publicly condemned the aggression but refused to specify what action it would undertake in response to the ongoing shelling and ground operations.
“We are responding, whether directly or indirectly,” Mekdad explained. He did warn that Syria’s air defense was “ready,” most likely directed at Turkey’s use of Syria’s airspace to conduct airstrikes.
The Syrian minister also warned that any extended stay by US troops in the country would be considered “an aggression against the sovereignty of Syria,” and a “violation of the UN Security Council resolution which speaks about the unity and territorial integrity of the Syrian people and their country.”
“It is a devastating mistake,” he said, warning that while it is not clear what Damascus’ response would be to an open-ended American military presence, he noted that if the troops are considered to be hostile, “then a lot of issues and options are open to the Syrian people and their government to act.”
Mekdad briefly mentioned the role of Moscow in the current conflict when asked about Russia “green lighting” the invasion of Afrin by Turkish forces.
“We are not sure what the Russians are thinking, but we do not think they can act on behalf of the Syrian government or against the principles Russia has always defended in Syria.”
The US and other governments have urged for a de-escalation of tensions, calling on Turkey to “exercise restraint in its military actions” and ensure “its operations are limited in scope and duration.”
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany