Assad calls US forces ‘invaders’

Author: ReutersSun, 2017-03-12ID: 1489264630930454900BEIRUT: Syrian President Bashar Assad said he had yet to see “anything concrete” from US President Donald Trump over his vow to defeat Daesh and called US forces in Syria “invaders” because they were there without the regime’s permission.Assad, in an interview with Chinese TV station Phoenix, said “in theory” he still saw scope for cooperation with Trump though practically nothing had happened in this regard.Assad said Trump’s campaign pledge to prioritize the defeat of Daesh had been “a promising approach” but added: “We have not seen anything concrete yet regarding this rhetoric.”Assad dismissed the US-backed military campaign against Daesh in Syria as “only a few raids” he said had been conducted locally. “We have hopes that this administration … is going to implement what we have heard,” he added.Asked about a deployment of US forces near the northern city of Manbij, Assad said: “Any foreign troops coming to Syria without our invitation … are invaders.”“We do not think this is going to help.” Assad noted that the Russian-backed Syrian Army was now “very close” to Raqqa city after advancing to the western banks of the Euphrates River.He said Raqqa was “a priority for us,” but indicated that there could also be a parallel attack by the army toward Deir Ez-Zor in the east, near the Iraqi border. Deir Ez-Zor province is almost completely in the control of Daesh.The Deir Ez-Zor region had been “used by Daesh as a route for logistics support between Daesh in Iraq and Daesh in Syria, so whether you attack the stronghold or you attack the route that Daesh uses, it (has) the same result,” Assad said.
Main category: Middle-East

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