BEIRUT, LEBANON (4:33 A.M.) – Bashar al-Ja’afari, the Syrian chief negotiator at peace talks in Geneva, told reporters after meeting U.N. envoy Staffan de Mistura on Friday that any US or Turkish-backed offensive onto Raqqa would be illegitimate and illegal unless coordinated with Damascus.
“Any military presence on our territory without the approval of the Syrian government is an illegitimate presence,” Ja’afari said.
This came as French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said on Friday that the operation to capture Raqqa from ISIS would begin in the coming days.
“Those who are truly fighting Daesh [ISIS] are the Syrian Arab army with the help of our allies from Russia and Iran.
“Direct U.S. military intervention in Syrian territory as well as arming factions in Syria and encouraging them to challenge the authority of the state does not serve the fight against terrorism,” he said.