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Syria vows to retake land and drive out Turkish and US occupying forces

SYRIA has vowed to retake control of the parts of the country under the control of Turkish-backed and US occupying forces. 

“Syria will go ahead in liberating every occupied territory, fully eliminating the terrorist groups and rejecting projects of partition,” Foreign Minister Fayssal Mikdad said on Monday. 

The remarks appeared to be partly aimed at the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces in the country’s north-east which have strengthened relations with Washington, which has built military bases and plundered the region’s resources, including oil and wheat. 

Its leader Mazlum Abdi finds himself at odds with both Damascus and the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), whose military leader Cemil Bayik advocates reconciliation with President Bashar al-Assad’s government. 

Last year Mr Assad said that his plans for decentralisation should be implemented and claimed that this approach would “allow for the elimination of inequality between rich and poor regions, and rural and central areas.”

The offer should be explored, Mr Bayik has previously stated, however the dominant Kurdish forces say that it does not do enough to address their civil and political rights. 

Mr Abdi, who reportedly lives in a US military base, instead continues to press Washington for political recognition of the Autonomous Area of North East Syria (AANES) and the de facto partition of Syria. 

Mr Mikdad was speaking in the Syrian People’s Assembly when he said that Syria had many “unusual challenges” to deal with, including the crippling economic blockade imposed by the US and European Union. 

“We… know the precious prices paid by our people and state, from the souls of citizens to the destruction of infrastructure, private and public properties, in addition to the looting of oil, gas and wheat,” he said.

Last month US government official Victoria Nuland agreed to a partial waiver of the sanctions to areas outside of the Syrian government’s control to allow US companies to conduct business there. 

She said that the general licence, which excludes oil, would allow investment in agriculture, health, education and other areas to bring much-needed investment to help reconstruction.

The news has been welcomed by a number of Western liberal academics and supporters of the AANES which had lobbied for the exemptions.

But critics said it was a clear attempt by the US to annex northern Syria and divide the country.


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