Damascus Didn't Consent to US Military Presence in Manbij - Bashar Assad
Syrian President Bashar Assad does not consider presence of the US military in Syria as helpful in fight against terrorism.
Moreover, Damascus did not consent to the US military presence in the area of Manbij city, President Assad added.
"No, no, we didn't. Any foreign troops coming to Syria without our invitation or consultation or permission, they are invaders, whether they are American, Turkish, or any other one. And we don't think this is going to help," Assad said in an interview with Chinese Phoenix Television, published by the SANA news agency, in response to a question on where the Syrian government gave a green light to the deployment.
The United States has deployed a small number of additional troops to Syria's Manbij on a new mission focused on reassurance and deterrence, US Department of Defense spokesperson Capt. Jeff Davis said in a briefing on March 6.
"We have made visible actions in deploying US forces as part of the coalition in and around Manbij to reassure and deter, and that is to deter parties from attacking any other parties other than ISIS [Daesh] itself," Davis told reporters.
There is no room yet for cooperation between the United States and Syria, despite common task in fighting terrorism, Syrian President Bashar Assad emphasized.
"Yeah, in theory, yes, but practically, not yet, because there’s no link between Syria and the United States on the formal level. Even their raids against ISIS that I just mentioned, which are only a few raids, happened without the cooperation or the consultation with the Syrian Army or the Syrian government which is illegal as we always say. So, theoretically we share those goals, but particularly, not yet," Assad said in an interview with Chinese Phoenix Television, published by the SANA news agency.
The president also noted that the only serious force that effectively fights against Daesh in Syria is Russia.
"The only serious party in that regard is Russia, which is effectively attacking ISIS in cooperation with us," Assad said in an interview with Chinese Phoenix Television, published by the SANA news agency.
He added that the presence of the United States, on the other hand, was not helpful in fight against terrorism.
"They [the United States] didn’t succeed anywhere they sent troops, they only create a mess; they are very good in creating problems and destroying, but they are very bad in finding solutions," Assad said commenting on the presence of US troops in Syria.
Geneva Peace Talks
Speaking about the latest round of Geneva peace talks, Bashar Assad said that the Syrian government did not expect the negotiations to produce any results but considers the meeting to be a first step in the right direction.
"We didn't expect Geneva to produce anything, but it’s a step, and it’s going to be a long way, and you may have other rounds, whether in Geneva or in Astana," Assad said in an interview with Chinese Phoenix Television, published by the SANA news agency.
He stressed that the Syrian government went to the talks despite reserves over what it considers terrorist groups being represented in the opposition delegation as it hopes that terrorists could give up their ideology and return to normal life.
"We went to that meeting because we think any kind of dialogue could be a good step toward the solution, because even those people who are terrorists or belonging to the terrorists or to other countries, they may change their mind and go back to their normality by going back to being real Syrians," the president said.
UN-backed Syrian peace talks in Geneva were meant to be used by various states as a tool to apply pressure on the Syrian government rather than strive for settling the country's six-year conflict, Syrian President Bashar Assad said Saturday.
"We didn't forge this mechanism; it was forged by de Mistura and the UN with the influence of the countries that wanted to use those negotiations in order to make pressure on Syria, not to reach any resolution," Assad said in an interview with Chinese Phoenix Television, published by the SANA news agency.
The latest round of Geneva talks did not involve actual settlement negotiations but merely outlined the shape of future discussions, he added.