Syria: US-backed SDF challenges Assad military threats

02 June, 2018, 15:07 | Author: Rachel Logan
  • The IDF's Givati brigade holds training exercises in the Golan Heights

"The first one: we started now opening doors for negotiations".

It was not the first time that Assad has threatened to attack US troops, but it was his most explicit expression yet of his determination to rid Syria of American forces.

Responding to US President Donald Trump's description of him as "Animal Assad", the Syrian leader shot back: "What you say is what you are". "This is our land, it's our right, and it's our duty to liberate it". "The Americans should leave".

Jordan also said on Monday it was discussing developments in southern Syria with Washington and Moscow and that all three parties agreed on the need to preserve the de-escalation zone which they brokered a year ago and which has reduced violence.

"The SDF has done an fantastic job helping get Daesh off the battlefield and they should be commended, not threatened", he told AFP on Thursday.

Meanwhile, in Brussels, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini met with a delegation from the Syrian opposition, headed by the secretary-general of the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, Naser al-Hariri.

Assad said a confrontation between Russian Federation and USA forces over Syria had also been narrowly avoided. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Wednesday the withdrawal of all non-Syrian forces from Syria's southern border with Israel should happen as soon as possible.

"We need the Russian support, but we need at the same time to avoid the American foolishness in order to be able to stabilise our country".

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Assad has hailed Russian leader Vladimir Putin for preventing a full-blown war ahead of US-led bombing attacks on suspected chemical weapons facilities across Syria.

A US-led wave of Western missile strikes on Syrian authorities targets throughout the nation final month raised fears of a Russian response and full-blown internationalisation of the seven-year-old battle.

"If the Iranians act against Israel from Syrian territory, Syrian President Bashar Assad and his regime will be those that pay the price". Violence has remained at bay in the region ever since, but the situation grew increasingly tense in recent weeks as Israel began launching strikes against Iranian forces stationed there.

"We have defeated most of the terrorist groups", he said.

"The most important fact regarding this issue, is that we do not have Iranian troops".

Iran has been offering military advisory support to Syria at the request of the Damascus government, enabling its army to speed up its gains on various fronts against the terror groups. Iraq is no exception, and Syria is no exception.

But some European Union states also share Trump's anger with Iranian military involvement across the Middle East, including in Yemen, and would want to limit Tehran's missile capabilities as well.

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