Russia says the territories currently occupied by American troops in eastern Syria should return to government control following Washington’s planned withdrawal of its military forces from the Arab country.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Wednesday that Moscow has no information about the pullout schedule or contact between Washington and Damascus on the matter.
However, she added, Moscow understands the importance of US President Donald Trump’s decision and is closely monitoring its implementation, which would “contribute to a comprehensive settlement of the situation.”
“The question emerges — who will receive control over the US-held Syrian territories? Obviously, in accordance with international law and taking into consideration what Syria and its people have been through, it should be the Syrian government,” she said.
“If the troop withdrawal happens, it would have a positive impact on the situation,” she added.
Last week, Trump ordered a quick withdrawal of all 2,000 US forces from Syria claiming victory over the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group in the war-torn country.
Analysts described US forces’ pullout from Syria as a victory for Damascus and its allies, which was made possible through the resistance of the Syrian nation and government during the foreign-sponsored militancy there.
A senior Syrian official has attributed a US decision to withdraw its troops from the war-ravaged country to the steadfastness of the Syrian people and government.
Elsewhere in her remarks, Zakharova stressed that “the question is still open” about whether the Americans would “continue airstrikes and restricted land operations” in Syria.
“Official American representatives make it clear that the withdrawal of the army from Syrian territory does not mean an end to the activity by the so-called US-led international coalition,” she pointed out.
The US and its allies have been bombarding what they call Daesh positions inside Syria since September 2014 without any authorization from the Damascus government or a UN mandate.
The aerial assaults have failed to fulfill their declared aim of countering terrorism, but destroyed much of Syria’s infrastructure and left many civilian casualties.
Turkey prepares to launch an operation against Kurdish militants in parts of northern Syria that lie east of the Euphrates River. The anti-Damascus Kurdish militants have long enjoyed US support despite Ankara’s fury.
Asked about Turkey’s planned campaign, Zakharova said Moscow and Ankara have closely coordinated their actions in Syria, “including military counter-terrorist operations,” without elaborating further on the issue.