US intervention in Syria should be stopped immediately – Iranian president

US intervention in Syria should be stopped immediately – Iranian president
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has called for an immediate end to the American and Israeli presence on Syrian territory during a trilateral meeting with his Russian and Turkish counterparts.

"The United States' illegal presence in Syria, which has only led to escalation of the situation, must end immediately," Rouhani said in opening remarks at the summit in Tehran. He further stressed that nothing good has come from America’s "aggression" and thus after the liberation of Idlib, the last terrorists' stronghold in Syria, a large US contingent controlling northern Syria should be withdrawn, according to Rouhani.

Apart from the illegal American presence, Israeli "occupational regime" must also leave the country, Rouhani added citing international resolutions and the demands of the Syrians. The Iranian president did not elaborate, but he was apparently referring to the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights, a strategic plateau captured from Syria in a six-day 1967 war. Tel-Aviv's de-facto control and claims over the area has not been recognized by the UN.

Israel has been bombing Syrian territory under the pretext of striking Iranian targets, and the IDF recently admitted that, over the past 18 months, it has carried out more than 200 strikes. Tel-Aviv claims that Tehran is trying use Syria's territory to vastly extend its influence in the Middle East despite the fact that Iranian forces were deployed there after an invitation from Damascus. Notably, US troops were never granted permission from Syrian authorities, who repeatedly slammed Washington for their deployment.

Iranian forces are not going to leave Syria and will continue fight against terrorism, Rouhani announced, adding that stability in the war-torn country cannot be reached without anti-terrorism efforts in Idlib. At the same time, civilians should not suffer from the operation in the area, he said.

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