Syrian Government authorities stated on Thursday U.S. military presence in Syria represented an “aggression” towards Syrian sovereignty, and vowed to free the nation from any “illegitimate” international presence.
The Syrian Foreign Ministry assertion was a response to a speech by U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Wednesday through which he signaled that U.S. forces would remain in areas within Syria indefinitely.
“The American military presence on Syrian land is illegitimate and represents a blatant breach of international law and an aggression against national sovereignty,” the statement read.
Syria would proceed its “relentless war against terrorist movements with their different names until every inch of Syrian soil is cleansed” and would work with “the same determination” to free Syria of any “illegitimate foreign presence.”
Tillerson signaled an open-ended military presence as a part of a broader push to stop the Islamic State’s resurgence, pave the way diplomatically for the eventual departure of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and curtail Iran’s influence in Syria.
The United States has nearly 2,000 military personnel in Syria, deployed as a part of the U.S.-led coalition’s campaign in opposition to the Islamic State. The Syrian Foreign Ministry statement mentioned the government was not in need of U.S. dollars “stained with the blood of Syrians.”