Withdrawal of Iran, Hezbollah Forces Not Up for Discussion: Syrian Deputy FM

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mikdad said on Wednesday that the withdrawal of Iranian and Hezbollah forces from Syria was "not up for discussion", a report said.

Withdrawal of Iran, Hezbollah Forces Not Up for Discussion: Syrian Deputy FM

"This topic is not even on the agenda of discussion, since it concerns the sovereignty of Syria. We cannot let anyone even raise this issue. Those who ask for something like that — and this is definitely not our Russian friends — are considering the possibility of intervention in all parts of Syria, including the support of terrorists in Syria and elsewhere in the region," Mikdad told Sputnik.

According to the Syrian diplomat, Damascus "highly appreciates" the help of friendly forces from Russia and advisers from Iran and Hezbollah in the struggle against terrorists.

The statements by the United States about its intention to withdraw troops from Syria and replace them with Arab forces are aimed at drawing the Arab countries in direct conflict with Damascus, Mikdad said.

"The main goal of such statements is to pump the money out of the Arab countries. This will force them to pay more to the US treasury, which may be empty. As well as drawing the Arab states in direct conflict, as far as I can guess — with the Syrian government, and this is a dangerous situation," Mikdad said.

According to Mikdad, Washington will ultimately not withdraw its troops.

The remarks came two days after US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo gave a keynote speech on US policy toward Iran, voicing 12 demands for Tehran to fulfill following Washington's unilateral withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said that the world cannot accept that Washington makes unilateral decisions for all nations.

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