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Iranian President Calls for End to 'Illegal' Foreign Military Presence in Syria

© REUTERS / Lucas JacksonIranian President Hassan Rouhani speaks at a news conference near the United Nations General Assembly in the Manhattan borough of New York, U.S., September 22, 2016
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaks at a news conference near the United Nations General Assembly in the Manhattan borough of New York, U.S., September 22, 2016 - Sputnik International
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Iranian President Hassan Rouhani slammed the “illegal” military presence of foreign forces in Syria on Tuesday, calling for their withdrawal ahead of his trip to Turkey’s capital city of Ankara.

Before leaving Tehran for Ankara to participate in a trilateral summit on a Syrian settlement by the heads of states of the guarantors of the Astana process on Syria — Russia, Turkey and Iran — Rouhani called for an end to the unauthorized presence of foreign forces in Syria.

"From our viewpoint, the presence of foreign forces in war-stricken Syria without the authorization of the country's government is illegal and must be stopped," Rouhani said, Press TV reports.

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The Iranian president pointed out that the crisis in Syria has to be settled through dialogue and by continuing campaigns against terrorist forces there. He stressed that Syria's future should be decided by its own people through comprehensive talks bereft of foreign intervention.

"The issue of reconstructing Syria as well as drawing up and amending a new constitution are the key matters that are important for the future of Syria and they will be discussed during the trilateral meeting," Rouhani told reporters.

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He also accused certain countries of supporting terrorist groups operating in Syria with the aim of disintegrating the Levantine country.

"The Americans seek to prevent the Syrian government from taking control of all areas, and they even think about partitioning the country," the president said.

Since the beginning of the civil war in Syria, the US and its allies have supported the Syrian opposition, urging Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to step down as part of the crisis settlement. Airstrikes conducted by the US coalition in Syria are not authorized by the government of Assad or the United Nations Security Council.

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Though the US-led coalition's proclaimed goal is to combat terrorism in the country, it has been continually accused of backing Daesh in Syria. Numerous reports allege that the US has been rescuing terrorists from encirclements and hot zones as well as evacuating them from Syria and Iraq, where the jihadists have been losing ground.

The trilateral summit is scheduled for April 4. At a joint press conference with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the first day of talks in Ankara, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that opportunities to strengthen the ceasefire regime in Syria and inter-group dialogue have been investigated.

Putin also confirmed the determination of both Turkey and Russia to combat terrorism in Syria and to maintain the country's territorial integrity.

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