Syria Tells US, Allies To Withdraw Military Forces
In a fiery and impassioned speech at the 73rd session of the General Assembly at the United Nations, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem demanded that the US, French and Turkish troops to leave his country immediately. He also said that the foreign forces were on Syrian soil illegally, under the pretext of fighting terrorism, and “will be dealt with accordingly.”
Moualem also asked Syrian refugees to head back home despite the ongoing war in his country. He insisted that the “war on terror is almost over” in Syria and said Damascus would continue “fighting this sacred battle until we purge all Syrian territories” of both terror groups and “any illegal foreign presence.”
The United States has deployed 2,000 troops in Syria working as advisers to the Syrian Defense Forces or providing other support to local militias battling the Islamic State. France has more than 1,000 troops on the grounds of this war-torn nation.
With regard to refugees, Moualem said that the current conditions are suitable for them to return and accused foreign countries for “spreading irrational fears” that scare refugees away.
“We have called upon the international community and humanitarian organizations to facilitate these returns,” he said. “They are politicizing what should be a purely humanitarian issue.”
The United States and the European Union have warned that Syria will not be granted reconstruction aid until there is a political agreement between President Bashar al-Assad and the opposition to end the war.
U.N envoy Staffan de Mistura is planning to convene government and opposition members to establish a new committee which will draft a post-war constitution for Syria and pave the way for elections.
Moualem laid out conditions for the Syrian government’s participation in the committee, saying the panel’s work should be restricted “to reviewing the articles of the current constitution,” and warned against interference.
The Associated Press reported that Moualem reiterated Syria will not be manipulated by outside dictates and anything seen as intervention in Syria’s internal affairs will be rejected. He said, “Any conditions or pre-conclusions on the work of the committee will not be accepted.”