Syrian Foreign Ministry condemned this Sunday the US General Mark Milley’s visit to northern Syria, which is under the control of Kurdish forces.
Syria’s Foreign Ministry issued a statement on this Sunday and rebuked the United States’ top military officer General Mark Milley for his surprise visit to an army base in the Kurdish-held northeast of Syria, describing it as an ‘illegal action’.
It was a day earlier on Saturday that Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Mark Milley arrived in Syria and met US troops stationed in areas of war-torn Syria under the control of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). There, nearly 1,000 American troops are still on duty in several bases and posts for what Washington calls supporting local militia forces combatting the remnants of the Islamic State (ISIS) group.
In his one-day visit, Milley met with Army Maj. Gen. Matthew McFarlane and reviewed security measures in Syria’s northeast. Experts believe that the arrival of Mark Milley to Syria signals the Biden administration’s seriousness about keeping troops in the country in support of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
“Syria strongly condemns the illegal visit of the American chairman of the chiefs of staff to an illegal American military base in northeast Syria,” the Syria’s state media quoted the Foreign Ministry’s statement. “The visit was a flagrant violation of the sovereignty and integrity of Syrian territory,’ the statement added, calling on “the US administration to immediately cease its systematic and continued violation of international law and support for separatist armed groups”.
The US claims that its forces have killed or arrested IS figures in numerous operations, including the group’s leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, in 2019. On February 19, the U.S. military said troops working with SDF captured an IS provincial official. But as the statement read, “President Bashar al-Assad’s government views the deployment of US forces in SDF-held territory as occupation and accuses US-aligned Kurdish forces of separatist tendencies”. It was Milley’s first trip to Syria since assuming the chairmanship in 2019.
No protection of Syrians is indeed intended!
Despite the claims by Washington that the US military presence in general and Milley’s trip to Syria in particular are all intended to protect the Syrians from the ISIS terrorist group. The US failed very flagrantly in supporting the Syrians father the earthquake of February 6. Since then, nearly 6 thousand people have been killed in a devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake spanning large areas of Syria and Turkey.
Instead of helping the earthquake-hit people in Syria, the US has in fact been doing the opposite through crippling sanctions against the country. Since February 6, US sanctions against Syria have been preventing much-needed relief and infrastructure support from entering the affected areas there. As a result, Syria, a country already hit by the western-backed conflict, has received almost zero international humanitarian aid.
To read between the lines, sanctions had created shortages of fuel for vehicles and heating homes, as well as shortages of medical supplies, hospital equipment and food at the time the quake hit.
Although under pressure from the part of humanitarian groups, the U.S. State Department announced a temporary lifting of sanctions on Syria four days after the initial quake, the measures were not enough. In this regard, Bassam Sabbagh, Syria’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, described the 180-days U.S. sanctions exemption as “insufficient to adequately offset the dire consequences of [the United States’] coercive measures” in the region.