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No prospect for future US presence in Syria: Assad

President Bashar al-Assad has ruled out a future US military presence in Syria, warning of a popular resistance against American troops.

Speaking in an interview with the Chinese television channel Phoenix, Assad counted out the possibility that the American policy towards Syria would change if President Donald Trump is not re-elected in the 2020 presidential election.

“The American political system is not a state system in the sense that we understand. It is a system comprised of lobbies,” Assaid said.

“All the presidents we have dealt with in Syria, from Nixon in 1974 – when relations with America were restored, up to Trump today are controlled by these lobbies,” he added

Assad said no matter how much good will any US president has, he cannot act outside the policies of these lobbies.

“Therefore, betting on the change of presidents is misplaced and unrealistic and I don’t think that this American policy will change in the next few years.”

The Syrian government says the US, the Israeli regime and their Western and regional allies are aiding Takfiri terrorist groups that are wreaking havoc in the country since March 2011.

Answering a question on the number of the remaining American troops on Syrian territories now, Assad said the announced figures are “incorrect” as they do not take into account the number of civilians working for private military companies, which are fighting with the US army.

“The funny thing in American politics is that they announce the number between thousands and hundreds. When they say thousands: it is to make the pro-war lobby – particularly the arms companies, happy that they are in a state of war. When they say hundreds they are addressing the people who oppose the war by saying that they are only ‘a few hundred’.

“In actual fact, both figures are incorrect for a simple reason; even if these figures were correct, they are based on the number of American soldiers and not the number of individuals fighting with the American army,” he said

President Assad said the US relies significantly in its wars on private military companies like Blackwater in Iraq and others, adding the real number “is certainly in the thousands”.

Referring to US claims that its troops are in northeastern Syria to “protect” the oil fields there, Assad said America is “stealing oil and selling it to Turkey”, accusing Ankara of being Washington’s  “accomplice” in selling the oil.

“The Turkish regime plays a direct part in selling the oil, previously with al-Nusra, later with ISIS [Daesh] and today with the Americans.”

Trump said in October that US troops would remain in Syria to “secure” the oilfields there. Damascus as well as regional movers and shakers voiced their strong opposition to Trump’s decision to seize Syrian oil fields.

Trump’s decision came after he initially ordered the withdrawal of all US troops from northeastern Syria, clearing the path for a Turkish incursion into the region. 

US military convoy enters oil fields in northeast Syria

US military convoy enters oil fields in northeast SyriaA large US military convoy enters oil fields in northeastern Syria despite condemnation of the deployment as “tantamount to robbery”.

Answering a question on how the Syrian government is going to face the American presence in the oil fields east of the Euphrates, Assad said, “First, the Americans rely on terrorists. The terrorists must be attacked, this is a priority for us in Syria. Striking the terrorists weakens the American presence one way or another.”

He added that the Syrian groups acting under the American command must be persuaded that “it is in all our interests in Syria that they embrace the homeland and join the Syrian state’s efforts to liberate all its territories,” in an apparent reference to Kurdish militants.

“At that point, it’s only natural that there will be no prospect for an American presence.”

He warned the US of a popular resistance if its troops remained, stressing that “ultimately, the Americans will leave.”

‘Reconstruction of Syria has started’

Elsewhere in his remarks, Assad noted that the reconstruction of Syria has already started. “We need more investments from within and outside the country in order to scale it up.”

“Reconstruction starts immediately after the liberation of any area, whether it is big or small, a village or a city,” Assad said. 

But he noted that the embargo imposed by Western countries on Syria is slowing down the process.

Asked about China’s “One Belt, One Road” initiative, the Syrian president said the plan “constitutes a worldwide transformation, a transformation in the nature of international relations.”

The initiative, he said, relies on partnership and common interests instead of attempts of domination adopted by the West, particularly the US.

Damascus has “started this year a serious dialogue with the Chinese government on how Syria can become part of the Silk Road,” Assad said.

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