DAMASCUS, SYRIA (7:35 PM) – American military planes regularly airlift and transport ISIS terrorists from battle zones to safe areas, presumably to use them in later offensives elsewhere. This was said by Walid al-Muallem, Foreign Minister of the Syrian Arab Republic, during an interview with RT on Monday.
“We have information and eyewitnesses on transporting ISIS terrorists aboard American aircraft, and maybe the US wants to use ISIS terrorists in other areas,” Muallem stated.
The Foreign Minister reiterated that all US military operations in Syria are “illegitimate, and it came without permission of the Syrian government,” and stated that all options are on the table in order to remove the illegal American presence from Syria: “We knock on all doors, and when diplomacy fails, we consider other solutions.”
“We must differentiate between the legitimate Russian presence in Syria and the US presence, which is an aggression against Syrian sovereignty.”, Muallem declared.
The US has been conducting airstrikes as well as special forces operations on Syrian soil since 2014, without any permission from the Syrian government or United Nations mandate.
Despite American claims that all its operations are aimed at the destruction of ISIS in the area, the US and its allies have been repeatedly criticised for targeting and killing civilians as well as Syrian government targets, and for its failure in dealing any significant blows to the terrorist organisation it is allegedly fighting.
On multiple occasions, Moscow has accused Washington of maintaining friendly ties with terrorist organisations tied to Al-Qaeda and even with ISIS itself. According to Russia, cooperation between US special forces and terrorist militias have slowed down the advance of the Syrian army in recent months.
However, Walid al-Muallem’s interview did not merely concern the US involvement in Syria. Regarding the issue of potential Kurdish secession from Iraq following the September 25 referendum in the region, Muallem stated that Syria would under no circumstance accept the disintegration of neighbouring Iraq. “This issue is categorically rejected by us, and we are with the unity of Iraq.”
However, this does not mean that Damascus is opposed to the idea of increased Kurdish autonomy in Syria itself, the minister said. “The Syrian Kurds want a type of self-management within the borders of the Syrian Arab Republic, and this issue is negotiable and can be discussed, and when we eradicate ISIS (Daesh), we can sit with them and agree on the shape of the future.”
This statement marks a clear olive branch from the Syrian government to the US-backed Kurdish YPG (“People’s Protection Units”) forces, which is currently fighting ISIS in the city of Raqqah, the terrorist group’s de facto “capital”. The YPG is currently in control of a significant part of northern Syria, an area they dubbed Rojava. Both Syria and Turkey have expressed concern over potential plans by Kurdish groups to establish an independent state in the area after the defeat of ISIS.
Walid Muallem concluded his interview by lauding the Syrian Arab Army and its allies for recent victories, including the lifting of the siege of Deir Ezzor and the liberation of Palmyra and al-Sikhnieh. “The main battles in Syria have almost reached the end and consequently, we are writing the final chapter of the crisis.”
As for the reconstruction efforts after the end of the war, Muallem stated that only “the states, which have not conspired against Syria,” would be allowed to take part in the endeavour, and that if European nations want to have any place in Syria’s future, they will have to end all restrictive measures imposed upon Damascus.