Assad threatening to attack USA backed forces in Syria

Lucy Bush
June 1, 2018

"If they stay, they're going to be killed unless they surrender" he said.

"This is the first option".

General McKenzie said the status quo around Tanf area- where Iran and pro-Assad forces clashed in the past- remains unchanged.

Russian ally Assad initially embraced President Donald Trump's election, but USA allegations that the Syrian leader was behind toxic gas attacks and subsequent US airstrikes have split the two.

Assad further urged the U.S. to "to learn the lesson" from Iraq, saying, "People will not accept foreigners in this region anymore".

But concern in Washington grew on Thursday that Moscow's real aim, in calling for Iran to exit southern Syria, is really to pressure the Trump administration to leave the country as well - a move that would leave Russian Federation as the sole power player on the ground.

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Asked if there was anything Syria could do to stop Israeli air strikes, Assad said: "The only option is to improve our air defence, this is the only thing we can do, and we are doing that".

Joint airstrikes on chemical weapons facilities were carried out by the US, UK and France following the alleged poison gas attack.

Earlier this month Iran's elite Quds Force launched a barrage of some 32 rockets into the Israeli-annexed Golan Heights, prompting a massive Israeli air retaliation that Liberman said wiped out "most" of Iran's military infrastructure in the country. "We need the Russian support, but we need at the same time to avoid the American foolishness in order to be able to stabilize our country".

"Any interested party in Syria should understand that attacking USA forces or our coalition partners will be a bad policy", General McKenzie said.

Assad also stated that Trump's invention of an insulting nickname did not move him or Syria in the slightest. "If not, we're going to resort.to liberating those areas by force". "People will not accept foreigners in this region anymore".

At present, all USA troops in Syria are within territory held by the Kurdish YPG.

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The Syrian leader is in the process of asserting his authority over the last few pockets of opposition-held territory after seven years of warfare during which vast areas of the country slipped out of government control. 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. It represents him, and I think there is a well-known principle, that what you say is what you are".

Assad also sought in his interview to minimize the extent of Iran's presence in Syria. "We invited the Russians, we could have invited the Iranians", he said.

"We were close to have direct conflict between the Russian forces and the American forces", he said.

He, however, noted that there were only "Iranian officers who work with the Syrian Army as help".

He said that Syria's air defences were now much stronger than before thanks to Russian Federation.

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