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Rudaw

Syria

Syria wants US troops to leave

By Rudaw 14/11/2017
A US army engineer works with a member of the SDF to help maintain a bridge near Raqqa in July. Photo: Sgt. Mitchell Ryan/US Army
A US army engineer works with a member of the SDF to help maintain a bridge near Raqqa in July. Photo: Sgt. Mitchell Ryan/US Army
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – US troops in Syria supporting the international coalition to defeat ISIS have no right to be there according to the foreign ministry, while Washington has promised “to continue until ISIS is extinguished.”

“The presence of the US forces or any foreign military presence in Syria without the consent of the Syrian government constitutes an act of aggression and an attack on the sovereignty of the Syrian Arab Republic," Syria's state-run news agency quoted an unnamed source in the Foreign Ministry as saying on Tuesday.

The report published by SANA called the presence a "gross violation of the Charter and principles of the United Nations."

Troops from the US Marines, Army, and other branches "advise and assist" vetted local partners who comprise the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). They have worked to help clear ISIS from some 50,442 square-kilometers of Syrian lands, according to coalition statistics provided to Rudaw English on Nov. 6.

"[T]his presence only leads to prolonging the crisis and further complicating it, and this is where the real goal of this US presence in Syria lies,” added the Syrian ministry.

The US-led coalition has cited UN Security Council Resolution 2254 to justify its presence in Syria. The resolution passed unanimously in 2015 and calls for "member states to prevent and suppress terrorist acts" specifically committed by ISIS, al-Nusra, al-Qaeda, among others.

The resolution also calls for a "political solution" for the Syrian civil war that has raged since 2011.

With ISIS militarily losing about 96 percent of the territory it once controlled in Syria and Iraq, according to the coalition, Russia, the United States, Turkey, and Jordan have agreed that only a political solution can resolve the civil war.

The United States has opposed the regime of Bashar al-Assad, while Russia, along with Iran, has backed the Syrian president.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Donald Trump issued a joint statement on Saturday which recommitted them to a political solution through the UN-backed Geneva peace talks and confirmed a continued commitment to "open military channels" to allow US and Russian forces to deconflict in "continued" anti-ISIS efforts.

"They confirmed these efforts will be continued until the final defeat of ISIS is achieved," read the US statement.

Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan also recommitted to a political solution in Syria after meeting in Sochi on Monday.

“We had an opportunity to discuss the latest developments about the Syrian conflict. We both agree that at the point we have reached there is now a basis for us to focus on political resolution,” read a statement from the Turkish presidency.

The United States has promised a continued presence in Syria until a political solution is met.

"[T]that's been our goal..." Mattis told reporters in the Pentagon on Monday. "Geneva is the place we want this to go for political reconciliation and a way ahead.”

"So that's our goal right now, to continue until ISIS is extinguished and the caliphate.  [So they] don't just up and pull it right out and wonder why they come right back up..."

Mattis doubted Syrian reports that they have taken control of the ISIS stronghold of al-Boukamal on the border with Iraq.

He said he has heard the announcements, but "we weren't sure they had taken it."

ISIS regained control of most of the town, pushing the Syrian army out after regime forces declared they had taken the town.

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Merica | 14/11/2017
It doesn’t matter what Syria wants ... they want USA to pull out so they can bomb the Kurds and rebels ... f... off...
pre-Boomer Marine brat | 14/11/2017
Let's re-word that second paragraph: ... “The presence of the Syrian forces or any foreign military presence in Lebanon without the consent of the Lebanese government constitutes an act of aggression and an attack on the sovereignty of the Lebanese Republic." ... Howzzat sound, Bashar? ... Up yours!
Nam | 14/11/2017
I think Kurds made a major mistake by aligning themselves with US. We saw the result of that alliance in Iraq and we will soon see similar results in Syria. I think Kurds are much better off to align with Russia and ask American to leave Kurdistan. I'm not saying that Russians are saints. I'm saying Russians are more honourable and honest than Americans.
Rebwar | 15/11/2017
I wonder how Americans would feel if Syria had invaded US? Don't read me wrong I am a Kurd and I fully support Kurdish rights. But I think pairing up with America is like a suicide in the long run. US has NEVER ever gone to a place to install democracy. Everywhere they have been they have razed it to the ground, destroyed the fabric of that society and sown the seeds of hatred. One can find examples going from Korea to Viet Nam to Iraq to Afghanistan to Syria to Libya and many more. Can you find me one place that America went to and that place escaped destruction? Americans are master of carpet bombing and destruction. That's all they know. That's all they do. The Kurds should stay away from USA! It's a terrible alliance with catastrophic consequences. Look at what Americans did to Iraqi Kurds! They betrayed them in 1975 in 1991 and in 2017. How stupid can one be to trust Americans after so many repeated betrayals?
duroi | 15/11/2017
US and Syria both passed their IS problem to SDF in east of Eupherates part of Syria. Their initial "bucket passing" strategy was a bait and bleed strategy to make sure that both IS and YPG are mutually destroying each other forces. We will see whether SDF will do a better job than KRG in delicate balancing of powers between US and Russia (cf. Turkey balancing act).
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