Syrian FM: Iran has no military presence, bases in Syria

A map of Syria shows the various areas under the influence or control of different countries and groups. In northern Syria in Idlib is Hayat Tahrir al-Sham. Along the Syrian border Turkey and its allies control a corridor stretching to the Euphrates river

The remarks came after the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights claimed on Thursday that Hezbollah and Iranian fighters are preparing to withdraw from southern Syria against the backdrop of regional and global negotiations now underway between the US, Russia, and Jordan over the war-torn country's future.

"Somehow, they are going to leave", Mr. Assad said Thursday.

But Director of Joint Staff Lieutenant General Kenneth McKenzie said: "Any interested party in Syria should understand that attacking USA forces or our coalition partners will be a bad policy".

The US's presence in Syria is not sanctioned under global law.

More than 2,000 United States troops are now in Syria fighting alongside the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in the northeast as well as in the enclave of At-Tanf in the south along the Jordanian border.

Both President Obama and Trump have argued the US-led coalition against Islamic State (IS) in Iraq and Syria is legal under the congressional authorisations to use military force against Al-Qaeda dating back to 2001.

"This is our land, it's our right, it's our duty to liberate [these areas], and the Americans should leave", Assad told RT.

Trump says North Korea talks positive, expects Kim letter
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (right) shakes hands with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during a meeting in Pyongyang. However, officials both sides have since said they are still working toward making the June 12 meeting happen.


Syria's foreign minister also denied Saturday there is an Iranian military presence on the country.

After regaining control of Syria's two largest cities - Aleppo and Damascus - Assad this spring set his sights on areas in the country that remain outside his control and in rebel hands.

Senior officials from Iran and Syria claimed Saturday there is no Iranian military presence in the country, amid reports that Israel and Russian Federation reached an agreement for the withdrawal of Iran-backed troops from the Israeli-Syrian border area. It was the most serious confrontation between Israel and Iran to date.

Moscow and Tel Aviv held advanced talks Thursday concerning Syria and agreed to "limit" the presence of Tehran in the south of the country.

Russian Ambassador Vasily Nebenzya announced to journalists Friday that an agreement was reached that would involve removing all Iranian forces from the Syria-Israel border in the Golan Heights.

Shamkhani's remarks came a day after an Arabic-language daily reported Israel and Russian Federation reached a deal to remove Iranian forces from southern Syria, while also giving Israel a green light to strike Iranian targets in Syria.

"Israel appreciates Russia's understanding of our security needs, especially with regard to the situation on our northern border", Lieberman said following his meeting.

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