Syria’s Jaafari: US coming operation in Raqqa is illegitimate

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As US-backed Kurdish militias and the international coalition are preparing to start a major offensive on ISIS-stronghold of Raqqa in few days, the regime’s spokesman at Geneva talks said any military operation would be illegitimate unless coordinated with the Syrian government.

The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) alliance, which is dominated by the Kurdish YPG militia, is supported by the US as the latter uses them in its war against ISIS.

Air strikes carried out by the US-led coalition and a long fight by the SDF forces ended in recapturing Manbij from the control of the Islamic State (ISIS) group last year.

The SDF, backed by US coalition, launched also a campaign with the ultimate aim of capturing Raqqa in November and succeeded in encircling the city. Recently, they launched an assault on Deir Ezzor province to cut the road to Raqqa and surrounding ISIS effectively and were able to achieve this goal after fierce clashes.

U.S. action on Raqqa is illegitimate

“Any military presence on our territory without the approval of the Syrian government is an illegitimate presence,” Bashar al-Jaafari told reporters after meeting U.N. envoy Staffan de Mistura.

Ja’afari said nobody could claim to be fighting Islamic State without coordinating with Iraq and Syria.

“Those who are truly fighting ISIS (Islamic State) are the Syrian Arab army with the help of our allies from Russia and Iran.

“Direct U.S. military intervention in Syrian territory as well as arming factions in Syria and encouraging them to challenge the authority of the state does not serve the fight against terrorism,” he said.

French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said on Friday the battle to recapture Raqqa would restart in the coming days.

“Today, we can say that Raqqa is surrounded and the battle will begin in the coming days,” Le Drian said.

“This will be a very hard battle but essential.”

The US forces are invaders

Jaafari repeated the same statements that his president, Bashar al-Assad, said in a recent interview that the US forces deployed in Syria are “invaders.”

Earlier in March, a few hundred marines with heavy artillery have been deployed to Syria in preparation for the fight to oust Islamic State from its self-declared headquarters of Raqqa, as a part of Trump’s new plan.

The deployment is temporary but is a sign Donald Trump’s White House is leaning toward giving the Pentagon greater flexibility in making routine combat decisions in the fight against Isis.

The latest troop movements come on the heels of the recent temporary deployment of dozens of army forces to the outskirts of Manbij, Syria, in what the Pentagon called a “reassure and deter” mission. Flying American flags and moving in large, heavily armored vehicles, the troops were there to keep a lid on tensions in the area, the Pentagon said.

Assad, in an interview with Chinese TV station Phoenix earlier in March, scoffed and questioned US actions in Syria, calling American troops deploying to the country “invaders” because he hadn’t given permission for them to enter the country.

“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,” Assad said.

“And we don’t think this is going to help. What are they going to do? To fight ISIS? The Americans lost nearly every war. They lost in Iraq, they had to withdraw at the end. Even in Somalia, let alone Vietnam in the past and Afghanistan, your neighboring country. They 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.”

The Syrian crisis began as a peaceful demonstration against the injustice in Syria. Assad regime used to fire power and violence against the civilians and led to armed resistance. 450.000 Syrians lost their lives in the past five years according to UN estimates, and more than 12 million have lost their homes.