The Syrian regime and its main backer, Iran, on Monday demanded that the United States withdraw all its troops from the war-torn country as they threatened to crush Washington’s Kurdish allies by force, Reuters reported.
“The only card remaining in the hands of the Americans and their allies is the SDF [a Kurdish-Arab alliance backed by a U.S.-led coalition] and it will be dealt with through the two methods used by the Syrian state: national reconciliation or the liberation of the areas that they control through force,” said Syrian Defense Minister General Ali Abdullah Ayoub.
He added that U.S. military capabilities were “big and advanced” but charged that the Syrian regime’s sources of strength included a “readiness for sacrifices.” The minister was speaking at a meeting with Iranian Maj.-Gen. Mohammad Baqeri and his Iraqi counterpart, Lieutenant General Othman al-Ghanimi.
The Iranian armed forces chief of staff echoed the demand for the immediate departure of all U.S. troops from Syria. “America and others will leave Syria as they have left other areas, because this presence is illegal and rejected,” he said.
Baqeri observed that the Damascus meeting had “studied the means that should be taken to recover” territories still outside the Syrian regime’s control, including areas captured by the U.S.-led coalition and its Kurdish allies. According to Baqeri, the summit confirmed that the countries were “united against terrorism” and coordinating at a high level.
“God willing the coming days will witness the opening of the border crossing and the continuation of visits and trade between the two countries,” Iraqi Lieutenant General Othman al-Ghanimi said after the meeting.
On Monday, the Pentagon denied a report in The Wall Street Journal, which claimed that the U.S. government intended to leave almost 1,000 troops in Syria, reversing course from an earlier decision to pull them all out once Islamic State is defeated.
“A claim reported this evening by a major U.S. newspaper that the U.S. military is developing plans to keep nearly 1,000 U.S. troops in Syria is factually incorrect,” General Joseph Dunford, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, said in a statement. “There has been no change to the plan announced in February and we continue to implement the President’s direction to draw down U.S. forces to a residual presence.”
[Photo: PressTV ]