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Syria condemns illegal entry of Dutch, French delegations into areas held by US-backed SDF militants

The file photo shows a view of the Syrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates building in the capital, Damascus.

Syrian Foreign Ministry has strongly denounced illegal entry of western delegations from the Netherlands and France into troubled northeastern part of the country, which has been occupied by US-backed militants.  

A Syrian official from Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates said in a statement on Sunday that the meetings between Western diplomats and the militants belonging to the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) "constitute flagrant violations of international law and a blatant attack on Syrian sovereignty."

According to the statement, a delegation from the Netherlands led by special envoy to Syria Emiel de Bont on Saturday entered the territory in collusion with the SDF under the pretext of receiving a number of Daesh terrorists of western origin. A French delegation also from the Danielle Mitterrand Foundation and the Paris City Council illegally visited the city of Qamishli in Hasakah province.

The ministry accused the French authorities and some other western governments of their "direct involvement" in fueling militancy across Syria.

Thousands of Western citizens traveled to territories held by Daesh and joined their ranks in Syria and Iraq over the past years.  

The SDF, which is sponsored by Washington, says the camps in northeastern Syria holding more than 70,000 Daesh family members are a security threat and a burden. 

European countries have been reluctant to repatriate their nationals living in such circumstances. A Dutch court ruled last year that authorities are not obliged to repatriate a group of 23 Dutch women and their 56 children currently imprisoned in northern Syria.

At least 220 children with Dutch nationality remain in Syria or Turkey, 75 percent of whom are under the age of four and were born in the region to parents with Dutch citizenship.  

Elsewhere in the statement, the ministry also called for full withdrawal of Turkish forces, which have been providing support to militants operating to topple the Damascus government since early 2011.

“This represents the culmination of Turkification policy of the Turkish regime , which will be rejected by the free Syrian citizens, just as our people in occupied Syrian Golan rejected the Israeli identity,” the statement said.

The statement also reiterated determination to extend the Arab state’s sovereignty over all its territory and liberate them from Turkish, US, and other foreign occupying countries.

“Syria calls on the International Community particularly UN and its organs to take the appropriate stance towards these practices and to force the governments of those countries hostile to Syria to abandon their subversive policies aimed at impeding the return of security and stability to Syria,” the statement said.

The Kurdish militants - with the help of less than 1,000 American troops - still control a quarter of Syrian territory. 

In recent months, people in Syria’s northeastern province of Hasakah have staged demonstrations to denounce the Turkish illegal military deployment to their area, in addition to the presence of the SDF and arbitrary practices of the US-backed militants. 

Security conditions are reportedly deteriorating in the areas controlled by the SDF in Hasakah and Dayr al-Zawr provinces. 

Locals argue that the SDF’s constant raids and arrest campaign have generated a state of frustration and instability, severely affecting their businesses and livelihood. 

Residents accuse the US-backed militants of stealing crude oil and failing to spend money on service sectors. 

Turkey has also in recent years wrested control over several areas in northern Syria in addition to other Kurdish-controlled areas.

Damascus views the Turkish military presence on Syrian soil as an attack on the Arab country's sovereignty.

Syria has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy since March 2011.

The Syrian government says the Israeli regime and its Western and regional allies are aiding Takfiri terrorist groups that are wreaking havoc in the Arab country.

Syrian government forces have retaken many areas once controlled by the terror outfits and are pressing ahead with their fight against the militants in their last bastions in the northwestern province of Idlib and areas in the neighboring Aleppo province.

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