Assad's Adviser: Syria Determined to Force US, Turkish 'Occupation Forces' Out
Bouthaina Shaaban, a political and media advisor to Syrian President Bashar Assad, stated “We are determined to liberate all of Syria’s territory from terrorists and Turkish and US occupation forces,” the Syrian news agency Sana reported.
Shaaban Wants US Out, Trump Doesn’t Mind
Meanwhile, United States President Donald Trump has announced on Thursday that the US would be withdrawing forces from Syria “very soon” and vowed to “let the other people take care of it” instead.
The US-led coalition launched its campaign of airstrikes against Daesh in 2014, following it up with the deployment of US forces into Syria’s northeastern regions as the terrorists’ so-called caliphate started to lose ground. The US has backed the Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) for several years. There are around 2,000 troops in Syria now, the Pentagon has said. Damascus has repeatedly criticized the US military intervention, pointing out that US forces were never invited into the country by the internationally recognized government of President Bashar Assad.
Turkey Persists and Reports Success
The statement of Assad’s advisor came immediately after Turkey claimed its Armed Forces had established full control over Syrian northern district of Afrin. Ankara’s military operation Olive Branch started on January 20. Ankara proclaimed its intention to “clear” Turkey’s Syrian border from the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), which Syria’s northern neighbor has branded a terrorist organization. Turkey considers the YPG and the Democratic Union Party (PYD), a Kurdish political party in northern Syria, to be linked to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which is listed as a terrorist organization by Ankara.
Damascus has repeatedly called the move “a violation of the country’s sovereignty,” insisting the Turkish troops should leave Syrian territory. Ankara refuses to do so, claiming Turkish troops are not going to attack government forces in Syria.