Syria’s top diplomat demanded the immediate withdrawal of all U.S. and Turkish forces in the country, adding that the government has the right to defend its territory in any way necessary if they remain. Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem spoke to the United Nations General Assembly as Turkey and the United States press ahead with a deal to create a safe zone along Syria’s border with Turkey. “The United States and Turkey maintain an illegal military presence in northern Syria,” al-Moallem said. “Any foreign forces operating in our territories without our authorization are occupying forces and should withdraw immediately.” He added that if the countries refuse, “we have the right to take any and all countermeasures authorized under international law.” There are around 1,000 U.S. troops in Syria on a mission to combat Islamic State militants, Reuters reports. President Trump has said he wants to bring the troops home, but other military officials have advocated for a phased withdrawal.
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