As Secretary of State Rex Tillerson laid out the Trump administration’s plans for the “open-ended” presence of U.S. military in their country, the Syrian government of President Bashar Al-Assad on Thursday decried the ongoing presence of U.S. soldiers in the country as a form of “aggression” which would not be tolerated.
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The Syrians voiced their objections to the U.S. military’s continued activities inside its territory—with the number of American soldier’s believed to be around 2,000—with a statement from the Foreign Ministry which stated that the “American military presence on Syrian land is illegitimate and represents a blatant breach of international law and an aggression against national sovereignty.”
The statement emerged after Tillerson on Wednesday, at a forum hosted by the right-wing Hoover Institute at Stanford University, argued that removing U.S. forces from inside Syria would only serve to “restore” Assad’s grip on the country and “provide Iran the opportunity to further strengthen its position in Syria.”
Meanwhile, tensions are intensifying along Syria’s border with Turkey this week after the Turkish government threatened to launch a cross-border incursion to fight Syrian-Kurdish fighters, specifically the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF)—backed by the U.S. and dominated by the Kurdish YPG.
That threat came straight from Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and came in response to the Trump administration putting forth a plan to arm and train a 30,000-member military force inside the Kurdish-dominated border region in north-western Syria.
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