DAMASCUS (Dispatches) – Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad has warned the United States to withdraw its troops from the Arab country or face a repeat of its fate in Afghanistan.
Mekdad made the comment during an interview with Russia 24 television channel on Friday, adding, “The presence of U.S. troops in Syria is illegal and they must leave as soon as possible.”
“If they do not, they will end up just like in Afghanistan or any other country,” the Syrian foreign minister warned, Syria’s official SANA news agency reported.
He referred to the chaotic withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan amid lightning advances of the Taliban across the country. The group finally ousted the government in Kabul in mid-August and allowed the safe pullout of the remaining American forces from the war-ravaged country days after the fall of the capital.
The U.S. has for years deployed forces and military equipment in Syria without any authorization from Damascus or the United Nations in an alleged goal of fighting against the Daesh terrorist group and other terror factions.
However, the Syrian government says the U.S. and its allies are aiding terrorist groups wreaking havoc in the Arab country.
In another development, Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry met with his Syrian counterpart Mekdad on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly to discuss bilateral relations, regional issues of common interest, and ways to end the foreign-backed conflict in Syria.
Mekdad stressed the importance of relations between the two countries — especially in light of the historical ties that unite them — and of mobilizing efforts to resolve the conflict while respecting Syria’s sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity.
Egyptian MP Mustafa Bakri said: “This meeting reflects Egypt’s keenness on Syria, its security, stability and territorial integrity — a position that (Egyptian) President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi emphasized more than once as he demanded a halt to any interference in Syrian internal affairs.”
Bakri added: “The meeting also confirms that relations between the two countries are moving forward.”
Mekdad also met with his Jordanian and Somali counterparts, Ayman Safadi and Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, respectively.
Recent regional developments seem to be in favor of Syria, as observers believe could they end Syria’s regional and international isolation.
Last Sunday, Syrian Defense Minister General Ali Ayoub went to meet his Jordanian counterpart General Yousef Heunieti, marking the first meeting at that level in a decade.
Earlier this month, energy ministers from Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and Egypt came together in the Jordanian capital, Amman, where they agreed that Lebanon, which is going through crippling fuel shortages, would import Egyptian gas and Jordanian electricity via Syria.