Syria's Assad threatens force against US-backed Kurds

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu chairs the weekly cabinet meeting at his office in Jerusalem

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu chairs the weekly cabinet meeting at his office in Jerusalem

"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.

General McKenzie said the status quo around Tanf area- where Iran and pro-Assad forces clashed in the past- remains unchanged.

"The Americans should leave somehow". "If they stay, they're going to be killed unless they surrender" he said. In the eighth year of the conflict, the global community has come around to acknowledging the reality of an Assad victory. "So we are supporting any worldwide mechanism that could limit the influence of Iran in the region in general, and in our country in particular", he added.

There has been a hike in Israeli strikes since the collapse late previous year of the Daesh terror group, something that significantly demoralized the other Takfiri militant groups operating against Damascus. In the process, the Kurds have assumed de facto control over a vast area of mostly desert terrain amounting to almost a third of Syrian territory.

Assad threatened to attack the region held by USA -backed Kurdish fighters in northeastern Syria if talks fail to bring the area back under Damascus' authority.

"We are there. Nothing has changed", he said.

Lavrov, however, noted that "Of course, the withdrawal of all non-Syrian forces must be carried out on a mutual basis, this should be a two-way street", Reuters quoted him as saying on Monday.

Syrian government forces have in recent weeks crushed the last insurgent enclaves near Damascus and a besieged area north of the city of Homs.

Assad further emphasized that the USA invaded Iraq on a legal basis and Syria is no exception. They have to learn the lesson. Iraq is no exception, and Syria is no exception. "People will not accept foreigners in this region anymore", Assad added.

Syria's President Bashar al-Assad gestures during an interview with a Greek newspaper in Damascus, Syria in this handout released May 10, 2018.

Rebels hold stretches of that area and intensive Israeli airstrikes in Syria this month were prompted by what Israel said was Iranian rocket fire from the area into the Golan Heights.

Israel wants to see a deal that initially forces Iran to withdraw 70 to 80 kilometers from the border and eventually from all of Syria.

"We were close to having direct conflict between the Russian forces and the American forces".

Iran has pledged that it would punish Israel for the deadly air raid. The Syrian civil war, a brutal, fiercely indiscriminate conflict now in its eighth year, has outlasted three UN special envoys; countless calls for accountability from the UN Human Rights Council; and numerous comprehensive peace initiatives.

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