Syria slams US military presence as 'act of aggression'
Iran Press TV
Thu Jan 18, 2018 11:49AM
Syria has strongly condemned a US plan to maintain its military presence in the Arab country as interference in its internal affairs and a blatant violation of international law.
"The internal affairs in any country in the world is an exclusive right of the people of this country, thus nobody has the right to only give his opinion in that because this violates the international law and contradicts the most important theories of the constitutional law," Syria's state news agency, SANA, quoted a Foreign Ministry official as saying in a statement on Thursday.
The statement comes after US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said US troops would stay in Syria for the foreseeable future to defeat terrorists, and added that the US would not fund the reconstruction of any part of Syria, where President Bashar al-Assad is in power.
According to figures the Pentagon released in December, there are at least 2,000 troops in Syria as well as a diplomatic presence in cities such as Kobani.
The Syrian statement further said US presence and all of Washington's actions in the Arab country are aimed at protecting the Takfiri Daesh terrorist group, which was created by the former American administration.
The Damascus government "does not need a single dollar from the United States for reconstruction because this dollar is stained with the blood of the Syrians," the statement added.
Turkey reacts to Tillerson denial
Meanwhile, Turkey said on Thursday that Washington's denial that it intended to build a border force in Syria was "important," but added that Ankara would not remain silent in the face of any force that threatened its borders.
Tillerson on Wednesday denied that the United States had any intention to build a Syria-Turkey border force, saying the issue, which has incensed Ankara, had been "misportrayed, misdescribed. Some people misspoke."
"This statement is important but Turkey cannot remain silent in the face of any formation which will threaten its borders," Turkish Justice Minister Abdulhamit Gul told broadcaster NTV.
On Sunday, the US announced that it will work, along with a coalition of its allies purportedly fighting Daesh, with US-backed militants of the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) to set up a new 30,000-strong "border security" force that includes the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG).
Turkey views the YPG as a terror organization and the Syrian branch of the outlawed Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK).
The force would operate along the Turkish border with Iraq and within Syria along the Euphrates River.
Washington's plan has drawn angry reactions from Syria, Turkey and Russia. Syria views the formation of such a border force as an assault on its sovereignty.
The US and its allies back militants fighting to topple the Syrian government. American warplanes have also been bombing Syria since September 2014 without any authorization from Damascus or a UN mandate.
The airstrikes have on many occasions resulted in civilian casualties, seriously damaged Syria's infrastructure and failed to fulfill their declared aim of countering terror.
Turkey reacted angrily to Washington's plan and warned it would not hesitate to take action in Afrin district and other regions across the border in Syria unless the United States withdrew support for YPG.
In August 2016, Turkey began a unilateral military intervention in northern Syria, code-named Operation Euphrates Shield. Ankara said the campaign was aimed at pushing Daesh terrorists from Turkey's border with Syria and stopping the advance of Kurdish forces.
Turkey ended its Syria offensive in March 2017, but has kept its military presence there.
Syria has voiced strong opposition to both Turkish and American military actions on its soil, repeatedly calling on the two NATO allies to pull their forces out.
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