Syria's Assad threatens to attack area under U.S.-backed Kurds

Saul Bowman
June 1, 2018

"As a result of this work, which should and will continue, representatives of the armed forces of Syrian Arab Republic should stay on the border with Israel on the Syrian side", the foreign minister said.

Turkey also says the US should drop its support to the SDF, which is mainly established by the People's Protection Units (YPG), the Syrian arm of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), according to Ankara.

He also warned that the U.S. should learn the lesson of Iraq and remove its troops from Syria.

Tensions between the US and Syria have ratcheted up during the Trump administration over its response to the country's seven-year civil war.

Asked if there was anything Syria could do to stop Israeli air strikes, he said the only option was to improve air defenses, "and we are doing that".

The Douma attack triggered missile strikes on Syria by the United States, Britain and France which they said targeted Assad's chemical weapons programme.

Iran is estimated to have thousands of advisers and fighters in Syria as well as a number of bases, which have become regular targets for Israeli attacks.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Wednesday the withdrawal of all non-Syrian forces from Syria's southern border with Israel should happen as soon as possible.

"With every move forward in the battlefield, with every victory, with every liberated area, we are moving closer to the end of the conflict and I always said without external interference it won't take more than a year to settle the situation in Syria", stated President Assad.

"The majority of the people who were against the the different liberated areas, actually in their hearts they are with the government", Assad said.

At present, all U.S. troops in Syria are within territory held by the Kurdish YPG.

"We were close to have direct conflict between the Russian forces and the American forces, and fortunately, it has been avoided, not by the wisdom of the American leadership, but by the wisdom of the Russian leadership", Assad told RT.

"This is not my language, so, I can not use similar language".

Israel, which is deeply alarmed by Tehran's influence in Syria, said it destroyed dozens of Iranian military sites in Syria in May, after Iranian forces in Syria fired rockets at Israeli-held territory for the first time.

"I think there is a very known principle, that what you say is what you are". "So we are supporting any global mechanism that could limit the influence of Iran in the region in general, and in our country in particular".

Assad further said Israel has from the start of the crisis in Syria been in contact with the anti-Damascus militants.

Meanwhile, the U.S. has backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), whose territory has been significantly diminished in recent months with the help of Russian forces. Syria's air defenses were much stronger than before, thanks to Russian Federation, he added.

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