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    Tehran: US Troops' Presence Destabilised Situation in Middle East From Beginning

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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The presence of US troops in the Middle East has been a mistake from the very beginning and served as a factor to destabilise the situation in the region, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi stated, commenting on the withdrawal of US forces from Syria.

    "In fact, the deployment and the presence of the US forces in the region from the early beginning was an erroneous, irrational step triggering tensions and unrest and has always been viewed as one of the key factors of instability, dangerous situation in the region", Ghasemi said via his Telegram channel.

    The statement comes after US President Donald Trump announced his decision to pull out all 2,000 US troops from Syria as the Daesh* terror group had been defeated there. The US president, however, did not warn key allies, his own advisers, and Pentagon and State Department staff, who learned of his intentions the evening of December 18.

    The move has reportedly prompted the resignation of Defence Secretary James Mattis, set to leave the White House on 28 February 2019. This idea has been expressed by Senator Lindsey Graham, who claimed, citing Mattis, that Daesh had not been defeated and that "a replay of Iraq was very likely".

    READ MORE: US Presence in Syria Not Helping Political, Diplomatic Settlement — Kremlin

    Commenting on the decision, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said that the United States withdrawing its forces from Syria did not mean the end of the coalition to fight the Daesh terrorist group.

    The first to announce the US plans of withdrawal was Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, with the US president himself confirming this information later. Speaking on the issue, the Turkish top diplomat specified that Ankara would postpone its planned military advance against Kurdish YPG forces in northeastern Syria until the pullout was over.

    Trump's Plans

    Earlier this year, Trump was already considering this move, saying that "it was time for US troops to come home from Syria… to bring our troops back home". However, his military advisers had been vehemently opposing this idea, prompting the president to change his position on the issue. 

    Meanwhile, the decision has raised serious concerns in the US Senate: House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry warned that a US military drawdown would reverse progress made against terror groups in the past two years and ultimately make America less safe.

    Syrian Kurds, in turn, have called the US troop withdrawal from Syria premature, stressing that Daesh has not yet been fully defeated.

    One of the US allies in the anti-Daesh coalition, France, stated that it would remain in the area, securing the stability of the situation there.

    The US-led international coalition launched its counterterrorism campaign in Syria in 2014 and has been operating in the country ever since, without securing permission either from the United Nations Security Council or Damascus.

    *Daesh (also known as ISIS/ISIL/IS) is a terrorist group banned in Russia


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