Pentagon troops’ presence ‘constitutes an act of aggression’
SYRIA demanded US troops leave the country yesterday after the Pentagon vowed to stay until peace talks take the “right direction.”
A Foreign Ministry spokesman said: “The presence of the US forces — or any foreign military presence in Syria without the consent of the Syrian government — constitutes an act of aggression.”
The ministry added that the US presence would prolong and complicate Syria’s civil war.
And a spokesman charged that there was now “clear” evidence of US collusion with Isis.
It followed the Russian Defence Ministry’s claim yesterday that the US-led Inherent Resolve coalition had refused a request for joint air strikes against Isis guerillas retreating from their last stronghold of Abu Kamal towards the Iraqi border.
The Russians said the coalition claimed “the militants were ‘voluntarily surrendering’ and now fell under the provisions of the Geneva Convention.”
On Monday US Defence Secretary James Mattis told reporters: “We’re not just going to walk away right now before the Geneva process has cracked.”
But Mr Mattis said there were no plans for US forces to police ceasefire zones, as Russian and Turkish troops are doing.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov laid into Mr Mattis, saying: “The United States believes that the right direction for Syria is the change of the regime” — which contradicts UN agreements.
On Monday the BBC’s Quentin Sommerville and Riam Dalati revealed that 4,000 Isis terrorists and their families had been evacuated from the besieged city of Raqqa on October 12 in a deal with the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
Under the deal to hand over the bombed-out city to Kurdish militia and US special forces, the extremists were transported out in 50 lorries, 13 buses and 100 of their own vehicles.
Sections of the convoy — which stretched for four miles — were later spotted heading to Isis-held Abu Kamal, close to the Iraq border.
Driver Abu Fawzi said 10 lorries were stacked with weapons and ammunition. Pointing to one of them, he said: “Its axle was broken because of the weight of the ammo.”
US Inherent Resolve spokesman Colonel Ryan Dillon admitted the deal was made to transport the terrorists to areas of eastern Deir Ezzor province still under the death cult’s control, but he claimed it was an initiative of “local leaders” — the SDF. “They get to make the decisions regarding operations,” he said.