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Syria warns US and Turkey against taking countermeasures

UNITED STATES, WASHINGTON (OBSERVATORY) — Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem on Saturday demanded the immediate withdrawal of all US and Turkish troops from his country and warned that Syrian government forces had the right to take countermeasures if they refused.

The United States has about 1,000 troops in Syria to fight Islamic State militants. Turkey also carried out a military incursion into northern Syria, targeting fighters of the organization and the Kurdish People’s Protection Units.

“Any foreign forces present on our territory, without our request, are occupation forces and must withdraw immediately and if they do not, we have the right to take all measures guaranteed under international law,” Moualem said during a speech to the UN General Assembly in New York.

US President Donald Trump last year ordered the complete withdrawal of US troops from Syria, but was later persuaded to leave some troops there to ensure that ISIS fighters could not resume their activity.

US intervention in Syria began with air strikes in September 2014 during Barack Obama’s presidency.

Although Syria does not agree to any US presence there, the Obama administration justified military action under Article 51 of the UN Charter, which gives individual or collective right to self-defense in the face of armed attacks.

“The United States and Turkey are still continuing their illegal military presence in northern Syria and the arrogance has reached the point of holding talks and agreements on the establishment of the so-called safe zone inside Syrian territory, as if this area would be established on American or Turkish soil,” he said. International law and the Charter of the United Nations.”

Turkey plans to build houses to resettle a million Syrian refugees in the region.

The United States and Turkey have begun joint ground and air patrols along part of Syria’s border with Turkey, but Ankara is still angry at Washington’s support for the YPG, a key US ally in fighting Islamic State in Syria.

Syrian army forces, backed by Russian air cover, are launching an offensive in the northwestern Idlib region, the last large area of ​​territory still controlled by Islamic State fighters more than eight years after the war began.

Western countries have accused Russian and Syrian forces of targeting civilians in northwestern Syria, a charge Damascus denies and says they target insurgents.

“We are determined to complete the war against terrorism in all its names until all the Syrian territories are cleared of it,” he said.

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