US dismisses Syrian regime demands; reaffirms commitment to fighting ISIS
WASHINGTON DC, United States (Kurdistan 24) – Speaking at the opening of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) last week, Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad demanded that the US-led coalition withdraw its forces from northeast Syria, where they have been fighting ISIS in partnership with the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF.)
Mekdad also demanded that Syria receive compensation for losses to its oil and gas industry, which he said amounted to $107 billion.
Alliance between Damascus and Moscow
Mekdad charged that the measures taken by the US and Europe against his country were elements in a “war on Syria” and “part of the West’s attempts to maintain its control over the world.”
Syria and Russia are close allies. On Friday, Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke in similar terms, as he announced the annexation of four Ukrainian territories, following what Secretary of State Antony Blinken slammed as “sham referenda”—a position shared by much of the world, including Europe.
In an angry address, which the BBC described as “full of anti-Western bile,” Putin denounced “the unipolar world” that the West, particularly the US, had created.
“They have divided the world into their vassals -- the so-called civilized countries -- and everyone else,” Putin claimed.
In addressing the UNGA last week, Mekdad was one of the few figures to support Russia’s unprovoked and brutal assault on Ukraine, underscoring the strength of ties between Damascus and Moscow.
“Syria reiterates its position on Russia’s special military operation in Ukraine and Russia’s right to defend and secure its own territory,” Mekdad said. “We are convinced that the Russian Federation is defending not only itself, but justice and humanity’s right to reject unipolar hegemony.”
It should also be noted that Syria’s close ally—Iran—similarly supports Russia’s assault on Ukraine. Tehran has even sold weapons—armed drones—to Moscow to facilitate its war effort.
US Response to Demands of Syrian Regime
Kurdistan 24 asked the State Department for a response to Mekdad’s speech. A spokesperson replied by essentially dismissing the complaints of the Syrian Foreign Minister. In doing so, he reaffirmed Washington’s commitment to its current policy.
“The United States is militarily in Syria for the sole purpose of enabling the campaign against ISIS, which is not yet over,” the spokesperson told Kurdistan 24.
“We are committed to preserving our limited presence in northeast Syria,” he continued, “as part of a comprehensive strategy to defeat ISIS and Al-Qaida working by, with and through the Syrian Democratic Forces and other local partners.”
Moreover, “it is important to note that Syrian oil is for the Syrian people,” he stated. “The United States does not own, control, or manage any of those resources, nor do we wish to.”
“As part of the effort to defeat ISIS, the SDF will continue to deny ISIS access to oil and gas revenue in northeast Syria,” he concluded, “which it previously used to fund its terror campaign."