Assad says he’ll use force if YPG refuses to withdraw

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov stands on the balcony before a meeting of President Vladimir Putin with French President Emmanuel Macron at the Konstantin Palace in Strelna outside Saint Petersburg

In an interview with Russia Today television which aired Thursday, May 31, 2018, Assad said that the US troops, who operate air bases and outposts in the Kurdish-administered region, will have to leave the country.

He said his regime "started now opening doors for negotiations" with them but "this is the first option".

Assad also said that crippling Syria's air defenses was one of the original tactics used by the "mercenaries" at the beginning of the conflict, and that it was never created to aid the "peaceful demonstrators", but would certainly help in case of a foreign military intervention to depose the government. "Somehow, they are going to leave".

At the same time, while not officially in league with Assad, Turkey has been waging their own war against the Kurds in that region, going so far as to physically invade Syrian territory on a few occasions and endanger American troops in the region.

"They looked for another card". "They have to learn this lesson". Iraq is no exception, and Syria is no exception.

The Syrian government's plans to recapture rebel-held parts of the region have raised Israeli concerns that its backers - Iran and the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah - could take up positions along the frontier. He denied reports that Iranians have been killed in Israeli strikes.

The Russian and Israeli defense ministers met in Moscow on Thursday, while Russia is providing indirect support for Israel in efforts to remove Iranian troops from southern Syria, near the Israeli border.

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As for US President Donald Trump calling him "an animal", Assad said: "This is not my language, so I can not use similar language".

He said it was down to "the wisdom of the Russian leadership" that a confrontation did not happen. Asked if he had a nickname for Trump similar to the "animal" comment, Assad replied: "This is not my language, so I can not use similar language".

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will meet with German and French leaders next week to present his case against Iran's continued presence in Syria and ask for pressure to be put on Tehran. "It represents him, and I think there is a well-known principle, that what you say is what you are". Iran's Revolutionary Guards have also deployed in the country.

He rejected Israel's claims last month that it had targeted Iranian troops in Syria as "a lie". The Israeli premier's office said the two discussed Iran's "military entrenchment" in Syria while the Kremlin said that a "Syrian settlement" was on the agenda.

To protect the sovereignty of Syria, Assad vowed to "improve our air defense, this is the only thing we can do, and we are doing that".

Assad said Iran's presence in Syria was limited to officers assisting the army.

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