Syrian official calls Turkish troops in Syria ‘occupation forces’

by Wladimir van Wilgenburg    


ERBIL - Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal al-Mekdad said it is “unacceptable” for any foreign troops to have a presence on Syrian soil without the government’s approval, adding that Damascus will deal with this issue as a case of “occupation,” reported Iranian government Press TV channel.

The Syrian official referred to the presence of US and Turkish troops who both have troops on the ground as ‘a occupation’. Mekdad called the Turkish presence “ an invasion,” and urged Ankara to stop intervening in Damascus’ affairs.

The statement follows tensions between Damascus and Turkey over Idlib.

Turkey called on Russia and Iran on Wednesday to pressure Syrian authorities to halt a military offensive in Syria's rebel-held Idlib province, which Damascus launched despite an international deal to reduce hostilities there. Moreover, the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Turkey will continue it’s Euphrates Shield operation in Syria’s Efrin and Manbij region last week.

“The time has come to completely destroy the separatist organization’s project aiming to create a Syrian terror corridor. We will complete the step we took during the Euphrates Shield Operation by continuing in Afrin and Manbij,” Erdogan is reported to have said, referring to the predominately Kurdish led Democratic Union Party (PYD).

In 2016, Turkey launched the Euphrates Shield operation on its Syrian border to eradicate what it called a "corridor of terror", and backed certain FSA forces to fight against both IS and the People’s Protection Units (YPG).  

The spokesman of Manbij Military Council Sharvan Darwish said that the security stability in Manbij city is worrying both the Syrian government and Turkey.

“They are trying to create confusion in the city through media threats or provocations on the border adjacent to its mercenaries at the separation line of Sajur River,” he said.

“We have our plans, our forces, our will and our confidence in our people, who will defend the homeland and the gains and will stand by us in the event of any attack,” he added.

The top Kurdish official Aldar Xelil on Friday warned to Syrian president Bashar al-Assad who recently condemned the U.S.-backed Kurdish forces and their allies as “traitors” in an interview with Reuters, that the Syrian government was incapable of attacking areas they control and warned that if it tried to “all its forces will be killed”.