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Assad's aide: US, Turkish troops presence on Syrian soil illegal

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s political and media adviser, Bouthaina Shaaban (file photo)

President Bashar al-Assad’s top aide has stressed that the presence of US and Turkish troops on Syrian soil is illegal and that will be dealt with invaders.

Bouthaina Shaaban, who made the remarks during a televised interview on Tuesday, also noted that the Syrian government would never give up on the city of Raqqah.

On October 17, the US-backed Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) announced that it had defeated Daesh in Raqqah and three days later said that it had fully recaptured the city from the terror group, following a military operation, which was launched in July without Damascus’ approval.    

At the time, the US-backed SDF also said in a provocative statement that the city would be part of a system of “federal government” in the country’s north.

The Syrian military has not so far engaged the SDF, which has reportedly shelled the positions of government troops on several occasions in recent weeks.

Shaaban noted that the SDF should take what happened recently in Iraqi Kurdistan as  “a lesson."

On September 25, a referendum on secession of the Kurdistan region was held despite strong opposition from Iraqi authorities, the international community, and Iraq's neighboring countries, especially Turkey and Iran.

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Following the vote, Baghdad imposed a ban on direct international flights to the Kurdish region and called for a halt to its independent crude oil sales.

Iraqi forces gather at their camp on the front line in the northwestern town of Fishkhabur, near the borders with Syria and Turkey, on October 28, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

On October 12, an Iraqi government spokesman said Baghdad had set a series of conditions that the KRG needed to meet before any talks on the resolution of the referendum crisis could start.

On October 16, Iraqi federal forces retook control of the Kurdish-held city of Kirkuk.


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