21:50 GMT +309 December 2019
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    Syria Should Be Cleared of Any Foreign Military Presence - Putin

    © REUTERS / Khalil Ashawi
    Middle East
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    Earlier this week, Turkey launched Operation Peace Spring in Syria's north, targeting the predominantly-Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and Daesh terrorists.

    Russian President Vladimir Putin said Saturday that Syria should be freed from any foreign military presence and this rule should be applied to all states.

    "Today, we are discussing this issue [the need for withdrawal of foreign troops from Syria] with all our partners, both Iranian and Turkish, and we have repeatedly told our American partners about it," Putin told Arab media in an interview ahead of his visit to Saudi Arabia.

    "And I can tell you now that I have said openly to my colleagues that the Syrian territory should be freed from the foreign military presence, and the territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic should be fully restored," Putin added.

    The Russian president noted that Russia would withdraw its forces from the Middle Eastern country if the future legitimate Syrian government decides so.

    "All who have illegitimate presence on a territory of any state, in this case, in the Syrian Arab Republic, must leave this territory. This applies to all states in general. If the future legitimate leadership of Syria says that it no longer needs the presence of the Russian Armed Forces, this will also apply to the Russian Federation, of course," Putin told Al Arabiya, Sky Nеws Arabia and RT Arabic broadcasters ahead of his visit to Saudi Arabia.

    Mr Putin's statement comes amid Turkey's ongoing operation in northern Syria aimed at, according to Ankara, batling predominantly-Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and the Daesh* terrorist group.

    A number of countries, including the European Union member-states, have condemned Turkey's actions and are thinking of introducing sanctions against Ankara.

    * Daesh (ISIL/ISIS/IS/Islamic State) is a terrorist organisation banned in Russia

    Tags:
    Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), Vladimir Putin, Turkey, Syria
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