Assad threatens to expel USA troops from Syria by 'force'

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The president said the only option to respond to the Israeli attacks is by improving the air defenses and "we are doing that".

Assad said in an interview with Russia Today television which aired on Thursday that the USA troops, who operate air bases and outposts in the Kurdish-administered region, will have to leave country.

In an exclusive interview shared in part Wednesday by Russian government-run news channel RT, Assad said he was unmoved by Trump's words, which were followed by US -led airstrikes against Syrian government sites suspected of being involved in the production of chemical weapons. "The Americans should leave, somehow they're going to leave", he continued.

In a tweet the USA leader condemned a "mindless chemical attack" in Syria that killed women and children, called Syrian President an "animal" and delivered a rare personal criticism of Russian President Vladimir Putin for supporting the Damascus government.

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Syrian President Bashar Assad threatened to attack a region held by USA -backed Kurdish fighters in northeastern Syria, saying in an interview broadcast on Russia Today channel on Thursday that American troops should leave the country.

Assad said the government had "started now opening doors for negotiations" with the SDF, whose main component, the Kurdish YPG, has mostly avoided conflict with Damascus in the war.

"This is the first option". Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Wednesday the withdrawal of all non-Syrian forces from Syria's southern border with Israel should happen as soon as possible.

He rejected Israel's claims last month that it had targeted Iranian troops in Syria as "a lie".

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In April, the US, UK and France conducted joint airstrikes in Syria in response to reports of a chemical attack in the Syrian town of Douma in which dozens of people died, according to rescue workers.

Netanyahu has made these statements on Sunday during the weekly cabinet session, in which he revealed the intensification of Israeli efforts against Iran, whether to prevent its possession of nuclear weapons or acting against the Iranian military presence in Syria.

The SDF wants a "democratic system based on diversity, equality, freedom and justice" for all the country's ethnic and religious groups, he added in a voice message to Reuters.

In southwest Syria, the rebels control the area near the border with Jordan.

The remarks reflect that despite pressure on multiple fronts, Assad is seeking to consolidate control after seven years of civil war.

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says Israel is prepared to hit Iran anywhere in Syria. "Because the majority of them are Syrians, supposedly they like their country, they don't like to be puppets to any foreigners", Assad said in English.

First, the pull out of USA forces within the next six months-at a time when Iran is in the process of establishing several permanent military bases in Syria, loaded with medium and long-range missiles that can reach any part of Israel-is a recipe for war between Israel and Iran. The area is a known stronghold for Hezbollah and other Iranian-backed militias.

"We are concerned by these reports of an impending Syrian regime operation in southwest Syria within the boundaries of the de-escalation zone previously negotiated between the US, Jordan and Russian Federation", U.S. Army Lt. Col. Earl Brown from the US Central Command told i24NEWS in a statement.

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