UNGA: Syria demands withdrawal of US, French, Turkish forces

UNGA: Syria demands withdrawal of US, French, Turkish forces

Taking the stage to muted applause at the annual United Nations General Assembly meeting on Saturday, Deputy Prime Minister and foreign minister Walid al-Moallem slammed global interference in Syria, denied Damascus' use of chemical weapons and accused the US-led coalition of war crimes.

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Al Muallem on Saturday lashed out at the United States' policy in Syria and accused the anti-ISIS coalition of "committing mass killings" and "supporting terrorism". "All conditions are now present for the voluntary return of refugees to the country they had to leave because of terrorism and the unilateral economic measures that targeted their daily lives and their livelihoods".

"Just as we liberated southern Syria from terrorists, we are determined to liberate fully the occupied Syrian Golan to the lines of June 4, 1967", he told the high-level United Nations meeting.

On the issue of refugees, Moualem said the conditions were fine for them to return, and he blamed "some Western countries" for "spreading irrational fears" that prompted refugees to stay away.

The United States and the European Union have warned that there will be no reconstruction aid for Syria until there is a political agreement between Assad and the opposition to end the war.

Last week, Russian Federation and Turkey agreed to a deal which stopped an imminent Syrian government offensive to retake the last major rebel stronghold in the northern province of Idlib.

"We welcome any assistance with reconstruction from those countries that were not part of the aggression on Syria", he said, according to Reuters.

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"We are committed to continuing the holy battle until we clear the entire territory of Syria of terrorist groups and illegal foreign presence", he said. But he stressed that it would not accept conditional assistance or help from countries that sponsored the insurgency.

The US has some 2,000 troops in Syria, mainly training and advising both Kurdish forces and Syrian Arabs opposed to the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.

In a dramatic speech, Syria's top diplomat has told the world that his country's "battle against terrorism is nearly over" and that, after more than seven years of brutal civil war, Syria is now ready to welcome back the more than 5 million people who fled the country.

"In one way or another [the global community] all realise that Assad has emerged as the victor, but the future is not guaranteed for any party in Syria", he said.

A picture taken on July 19, 2018 from the Golan Heights shows smoke rising in an area where Russian-backed government forces in Syria have been carrying air strikes near the village of al-Rafid in the southern Syrian province of Quneitra. It calls for setting up a demilitarized zone around Idlib to separate government forces from rebels, including those from the al-Qaeda-linked group formerly known as the Nusra Front.

The UN-led efforts to bring Syria's warring factions together to draft a new constitution under which elections would be held has been stalled for years.

Moualem laid out conditions for the Syrian government's participation in the committee, saying the panel's work should be restricted "to reviewing the articles of the current constitution", and warned against interference.

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