MESOPOTAMIA NEWS :Syria Daily: Assad Regime — We Will Act Against US & Turkish Forces (And SDF/PYD(PKK) Troops


Scott Lucas | Sep 29, 2019 | – EAWORLDVIEW  – The Assad regime has declared that it will take action against US and Turkish forces in the north and east of Syria.

Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem used an appearance at the UN General Assembly on Saturday to proclaim, “Any foreign forces operating in our territories without our authorization are occupying forces and must withdraw immediately. If they refuse, we have the right to take any and all countermeasures authorized under international law.”

The Foreign Minister said of a “safe zone” declared by Turkey and the US in northeast Syria, across the Kurdish cantons of Kobani and Cezire, “The United States and Turkey maintain an illegal military presence in northern Syria.” Moallem did not specify the military and/or diplomatic steps which the regime will take. Instead, he issued the general warning against all anti-Assad groups, ““We are determined to continue our war against terrorism in all its forms until rooting out the last remaining terrorist.”

A Multi-Sided Conflict in the North

The US has officially carried out air and ground operations inside Syria since August 2014, when it proclaimed a campaign against the Islamic State. In autumn 2015, Washington forged the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces to remove ISIS from the northeast, a task accomplished in March 2019.

Despite a Donald Trump order for full withdrawal in December, about 1,000 troops remain alongside the SDF and at a base in eastern Syria on the Iraq border. In addition to the official line of preventing the resurgence of the Islamic State, US officials have also said the force is a counter to an expansion of Iranian influence in Syria and the region.

Turkey’s official military intervention dates from August 2016, when it sent troops into northern Syria alongside Syrian rebels. The force pushed out ISIS and then captured almost all of the Kurdish canton of Afrin in the northwest in spring 2018.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan declared Ankara’s intention that a “safe zone”, 480 km (270 miles) long and 30 km in depth in northeast Syria, take one million of the 3.6 million Syrian refugees in Turkey.Turkey and the US set up a Joint Operations Room to patrol the zone this month, but Ankara is chiding the Americans for dragging their feet on operations.

Ankara considers the Kurdish militia YPG, the largest faction in the Syrian Democratic Forces, to be part of the Turkish Kurdish insurgency PKK. The Assad regime has begun threats against the “terrorist” SDF as part of its slogan that it will “regain every inch” of Syria. However, Russia — essential to any pro-Assad advance across the country since Moscow’s military intervention in September 2015 — has not announced support for any offensive.