Turkey’s Military Presence in Syria Illegal: Foreign Minister
Syrian Deputy Prime Minister, Foreign and Expatriates Minister Walid al-Moallem
Islam Times - Syria's foreign minister says we still and will always consider the Turkish military presence in the country as illegal.
Syrian Deputy Prime Minister, Foreign and Expatriates Minister Walid al-Moallem made the remarks in meeting with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov on Wednesday in the Russian resort city of Sochi.
In his response to a question on the Syrian government’s attitude towards more countries joining the Astana process as observers, al-Moallem said “We accepted the requests of five countries, and now we have received a request form Venezuela I think. We welcome the involvement of these countries and expanding participation in Astana meetings.”
Commenting on the fourth de-escalation zone in Idlib, al-Moallem affirmed that this zone was agreed on at the latest Astana meeting under the patronage of the guarantor countries “with the hope that it will be implemented on the ground.”
“We started from our desire to stop the Syrian bloodshed, and in the end, such agreements have a fixed period of six months, and accordingly they are part of our right to maintaining the unity of Syria, land and people,” al-Moallem said.
He elaborated by saying that he believes that what is going on now in Idlib is “part of fixing issues between Turkey and its tools.”
“We still and will always consider the Turkish presence in Syria as illegal. The Turks say their presence is taking place under the Astana umbrella, but I realized today that Astana has nothing to do with this Turkish act. Therefore, any measure that is not coordinated with the Syrian government is an act of aggression, and we don’t recognize its legitimacy,” al-Moallem said.
This week Turkey launched a major offensive in northwestern Syria to reportedly combat terrorist groups in the region.
Earlier during his meeting with Lavrov, al-Moallem affirmed that the international coalition led by Washington is destroying everything in Syria except for ISIS terrorist organization.
Meanwhile, Lavrov affirmed that the victories achieved by the Syrian Army, supported by the Russian Air Force, have made the efforts of solving the crisis in Syria more successful.
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