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Syrian FM: Illegal presence of American, Turkish forces will eventually end

Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad attends a regional meeting in Amman, Jordan, on May 1, 2023. (Photo by AFP)

Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad has stressed that the American and Turkish illegal military presence in the Arab country will eventually end.

Speaking at a conference in Damascus on Monday, Mekdad said “Turkey knows that its withdrawal [from Syrian territories] is the sole way to restore ties between the two countries.”

Turkey deployed forces in Syria in October 2019 in violation of the Arab country’s territorial integrity.

Ankara-backed militants were deployed to northeastern Syria after Turkish military forces launched a long-threatened cross-border invasion in a declared attempt to push militants of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) away from border areas.

Ankara views the US-backed YPG as a terrorist organization tied to the homegrown Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has been seeking an autonomous Kurdish region in Turkey since 1984.

Also on Monday, Mekdad said “The US occupation of northeastern Syria, its act of plundering of its wealth, and its support of the separatist terrorist groups will end thanks to the struggle of our heroic people in Dayr al-Zawr and Hasakah, along with the Syrian Arab Army.”

The US also deployed forces and military equipment in Syria in 2014 without any authorization from Damascus or a UN mandate under the pretext of fighting Daesh.

The US military claims its presence in Syria is aimed at preventing the oilfields in the area from falling into the hands of Daesh.

Damascus, however, maintains the deployment is meant to plunder the country’s natural resources. Former President Donald Trump of the United States admitted on several occasions that American forces were in the Arab country for its oil wealth.

Touching up on Syria’s future after its return to the Arab League, Mekdad said “We have never been outside the scope of the joint Arab action.”

He stressed that the US and Israel are “mistaken” if they think that they can separate Syria from the Arab world.

Mekdad also noted that Damascus seeks to strengthen its ties with Latin American nations, “but the economic sanctions imposed on us and on some of those countries hinder that.”

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