ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – A top advisor to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Tuesday said Damascus would “deal with” US and Turkish forces who were “illegal invaders” in the country.
During a television interview with Lebanese channel al-Mayadeen, Bouthaina Shaaban, one of Assad’s top advisors, said Turkey was “a colonizer” in the country.
“Turkey today is a colonizer country, its forces on our soil are illegal, just as the American forces are on our soil illegally,” she said.
“We will deal with this issue as we deal with any illegal invader force on our lands,” Shaaban added, without providing further details.
The United States and Turkey are supporting various groups opposed to both Assad and the Islamic State (IS) in Syria.
Ankara has even begun opening “observation points” in Idlib Province, northwestern Syria, following a deal with Russia and Iran, allies of the Syrian President.
Although the US-led coalition, fighting IS with the help of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), want Assad to step down, Washington has insisted they do not want to fight Syrian regime forces.
Meanwhile, the Kurdish-led SDF who liberated Raqqa, once the de facto capital of IS in the country, said the city would be part of a “decentralized federal Syria” and hoped for a new round of negotiations that address Kurdish autonomy in the north.
However, Shaaban downplayed discussions of the country’s unity with any group, adding what happened in the Kurdistan Region “should be a lesson” to the SDF, referring to the Iraqi forces and Iranian-backed Shia Hashd al-Shaabi’s attack on Oct. 16.
“Everything is up to the Syrians and to discussions between Syrians, and there cannot be a discussion on the division or cutting up of a part of the country or on so-called federalism,” Assad’s advisor said.
“I don’t think any government can discuss with any group when it comes to the topic of the country’s unity,” Shaaban added.
Syria has also improved its relationship with Iran, a growing power in the region which is openly opposed to the US.
Earlier on Tuesday, President Assad indicated Syria would continue fighting in the country and may target the SDF after IS was defeated.
Assad’s remarks came during his meeting with Ali Akbar Velayati, the foreign policy adviser to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the Syrian state news agency SANA reported.
He indicated the war in Syria might evolve to include the Kurdish-led, US-backed SDF who are still fighting IS in Syria and control over a quarter of the country.
Editing by Nadia Riva