23:33 GMT06 April 2020
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    Despite US President Donald Trump announcing the withdrawal of American forces from the Arab Republic for the second time in two years, it was still decided that a minor US military contingent would stay behind to "keep [Syrian] oil". Damascus has condemned the decision, and deemed American deployment in general, as "illegal".

    Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has explained in an interview with Chinese broadcaster Phoenix Television that two goals must be achieved in order to make American military forces finally withdraw from the country, where they have been stationed without the government's authorisation or a UN mandate.

    Firstly, all terrorist groups on Syrian territory must be eradicated, as the fight against them is being used by the US government as a pretext to keep its forces present in the Arab Republic, Assad stated. The Syrian president said that the second step would involve convincing Washington's allies among the local population, presumably referring to Kurds, to unite their forces with the Syrian government instead of the foreign forces.

    "These groups must be persuaded, one way or another and particularly through dialogue, that it is in all our interests in Syria that they embrace the homeland and join the Syrian state’s efforts to liberate all its territories", Assad said.

    The Syrian president believes that once these two goals are achieved, the US will have no "prospect" for staying in the Arab Republic, because otherwise they will face "popular resistance" akin to the one Washington is dealing with in Iraq.

    "Ultimately, the Americans will leave", Assad concluded.

    "Keeping the Oil" in Syria

    US President Donald Trump announced earlier this year, for the second time during his term, that American soldiers will be leaving Syrian soil. However, days later, Trump backtracked on his statements saying that a small contingent of US troops would stay behind for now in order to "keep the oil", as American troops were spotted securing Syrian oil fields in the eastern part of the country.

    Washington's decision was harshly condemned by Damascus and its ally, Moscow, as lacking a legal basis. Both countries have accused Washington of "stealing" Syrian oil resources with Assad stating that it's being sold to Turkey by the US. Washington claims that all profits from the local sales of oil go directly to its Kurdish allies.

    Related:

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    Assad Calls For Withdrawal of ‘All Illegal Forces’ From Syria After US and Turkey Clinch Ceasefire
    Some Kind of Mantra? Trump Sticks to 'Keep the Oil' Formula as He Justifies US Staying in Syria
    Trump Reiterates ‘We Keep the Oil’ in Syria Mantra, Says US Can Do With Fuel ‘What We Want’
    Tags:
    Bashar al-Assad, oil fields, US, Syria
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