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Russian foreign minister says American forces must leave Syria

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)
Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (Photo by AFP)

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov says the presence of American troops in Syria is unlawful, and that they must completely leave the Syrian soil.

Speaking to the Interfax news agency on Thursday, Lavrov added that the United Nations Security Council had not authorized operation in Syria by the United States and the coalition it leads.

Nor has Washington been invited onto the Arab country’s soil by the Syrian government, he asserted.

The Takfiri terrorist group of Daesh unleashed a campaign of bloodshed and destruction in Syria in 2014, overrunning considerable expanses of territory.

The same year saw the United States launch a so-called campaign against Daesh together with a coalition of its allies. The military alliance had done little in the fight against the terrorists, and has instead been repeatedly accused of targeting and killing civilians and hampering Syrian government operations against Takfiri terrorists.

The Syrian government then enlisted the assistance of Iranian military advisors and Russian air cover, pushing back the terrorists turf after turf. The Arab country flushed Daesh out of its last stronghold last month.

Lavrov also reacted to a statement by US Defense Secretary James Mattis saying that US troops would stay in Syria.

The top Russian diplomat said the statement was “surprising” as it meant that the White House reserved the right to determine the progress and sought to keep control over part of the Syrian territory to secure its desired outcome.

According to the UN Security Council Resolution 2254, which the United States itself has supported, the decision on the future of Syria only rests with the Syrian people, Lavrov added.

The Pentagon has also said there are about 2,000 troops in Syria. They support the anti-Damascus Kurdish militants in the north, who have, according to Syria, been seeking to gain more territory under the pretext of fighting terror.

‘US copters airlift Daesh ringleaders in Syria’

In another development, American helicopters were reportedly spotted airlifting Daesh ringleaders from the northwestern Syria province of Dayr al-Zawr to the neighboring province of Hassakah.

The official Syrian Arab News Agency citied civil sources as saying that the choppers had carried the Takfiri terrorist group’s kingpins from “several areas of Dayr al-Zawr countryside to unknown place in Hassakah countryside.”

The aircraft flew in from Dayr al-Zawr’s northern countryside, lowering their altitude above al-Sad refugee camp and then heading to al-Basel Dam to the south of Hassakah’s provincial capital of the same name.

Back in August, the so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the US had airlifted a number of Daesh terrorists near Dayr al-Zawr’s capital.

The London-based monitor said two US helicopters had conducted the operation in Beqres, a suburban area east of Dayr al-Zawr, taking four Daesh members and a civilian from a house used as an arms depot.

The incident happened while Syrian troops were closing in on the Takfiris.

On Wednesday, Russia’s military chief said militants, including those with the terror outfit, were receiving training at US bases in Syria, adding that the terrorists had been instructed to “destabilize” the Arab country.

In an interview with Russia’s Komsomolskaya Pravda daily, Chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces, Valery Gerasimov accused the US of using a refugee camp outside the town of Shaddadah in Hassakah Province as a training center for the Daesh remnants, including those evacuated from the terror group’s former stronghold of Raqqah.

A recent study by Conflict Armament Research (CAR) said that sophisticated weapons the US and Saudi Arabia secretly provided to so-called moderate militants fighting the Syrian government quickly fell into the Daesh hands.

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