Syrian FM calls for withdrawal of US and Turkish troops from Syria
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad called for the withdrawal of US and Turkish troops from Syria in a speech to the UN General Assembly in New York on Monday.
Mekdad stressed that Syria will reassert the state’s control over the entirety of the country again, insisting that “this is a non-negotiable national and constitutional right.”
“Syria has seriously dealt with meetings held in Astana formula, hoping that this thing would positively give fruits against terrorism and restore stability and security in Syria, but the Turkish regime still gives evidence that it is not committed to Astana outcomes or Sochi understandings about Idlib,” Mekdad said, according to Syria’s official SANA news agency.
Under the tripartite Astana deal between Iran, Turkey and Russia, de-escalation zones were created in Idlib to reduce the risk of conflict between Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces and armed opposition groups in Idlib. Turkish troops entered Idlib in October 2017 as a guarantor of the agreement.
Furthermore, the Syrian foreign minister stressed that foreign presence on its territory without its approval and consent is both illegitimate and in violation of international law and the UN Charter.
Also, on Sunday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told CBS that he wants US troops to leave both Syria and Iraq.
“Just like the way they have withdrawn from Afghanistan,” he said.
However, the Turkish leader defended his own country’s troop presence in Iraq and Syria.
“We will never remain where we are not wanted,” he said. “We will never be present where we are not welcome.”
The Biden administration has no plans to remove US troops from either Syria or Iraq and is continuing the fight against the Islamic State (ISIS) group.
Mekdad and Erdogan’s comments came ahead of a planned meeting between Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in the Black Sea resort city of Sochi on Sept. 29.
During a meeting on Sept. 13 between Putin and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Moscow, both called on foreign forces to leave Syria, a statement seen as a message to Turkey and the US.
For two days in a row, Russian airstrikes also targeted Turkish-backed rebels in Afrin this week. In the past, Russia refrained from bombing Afrin, which Turkey took complete control of with Russian approval in March 2018.
Turkey reportedly increased the number of troops it has in Syria ahead of the Erdogan-Putin meeting, fearing an assault on Idlib, the National reported.