Putin calls for foreign militaries to leave Syria

Putin calls for foreign militaries to leave Syria
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Russian President Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinPutin: Trump not to blame for lack of improved relations with Russia The Trump doctrine: Principled realism or endemic confusion? Five ways Trump's Syria decision spells trouble MORE is urging foreign militaries to leave Syria as Turkey has come under increased scrutiny for waging a military offensive in the country.

“Everyone who is illegitimately on the territory of any state, in this case Syria, must leave this territory. This applies to all states,” Putin told state news agencies RT, Sky News Arabia and Al Arabiya in an interview, according to Reuters.

Putin, who is an ally of Syrian President Bashar Assad, added that Russian forces in Syria are ready to leave the country when a new legitimate Syrian government tells Moscow it doesn’t need its help anymore, the outlet reported.

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Putin’s comments come as Turkey has waged a military offensive in northern Syria following President TrumpDonald John TrumpWHCA calls on Trump to denounce video depicting him shooting media outlets Video of fake Trump shooting members of media shown at his Miami resort: report Trump hits Fox News's Chris Wallace over Ukraine coverage MORE’s decision earlier this week to remove U.S. troops from the area.

Trump announced the move after a phone call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, drawing strong criticism from lawmakers in both parties.

Trump’s move was largely viewed as giving the go-ahead for the military incursion, since the U.S. troops had been an acting buffer between Turkish and Kurdish forces.

Republican lawmakers have panned Trump's move, noting that the Syrian Kurdish allies have been a highly effective local tool for Washington in fighting ISIS.

The Trump administration has warned Turkey of "powerful sanctions" that would "shut down the Turkish economy" if the country goes too far in Syria, though the exact circumstances that would provoke such a response are unclear.

Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinFurious Republicans prepare to rebuke Trump on Syria White House officials stand by Syria withdrawal, sanctions delay amid bipartisan pushback Trump: Treasury 'ready to go' on sanctions against Turkey: 'Stay tuned' MORE announced on Friday that Trump will sign an executive order expanding the administration's ability to impose sanctions on Turkish officials amid growing criticism over his decision to pull U.S. forces out of the country.