Putin knocks US, Turkey during meeting with Syria’s Assad
Russian President Vladimir Putin took a swipe at the United States and Turkey on Monday during a meeting with Syrian leader Bashar Assad in Moscow.
During the meeting, Putin knocked foreign forces in Syria without a United Nations mandate, a criticism directed at the U.S. and Turkey.
The Kremlin said Tuesday that the presence of the countries “undermines your ability to use your best efforts to consolidate the country and promote recovery at a pace that would have been possible if the legitimate government controlled the entire country,” according to a report from Reuters.
While both the U.S. and Turkey are considered occupiers to the Syrian state, Russia and Iran’s presence is condoned by the Syrian government, according to the wire service.
The comments come amid continued conflict in Syria that began in 2011 against insurgent forces in the country. Russia and Iran have played important roles in helping Assad consolidate power in the area and retake Syrian territories.
“Terrorists sustained very serious damage, and the Syrian government, headed by you, controls 90 percent of the territories,” Putin said, according to Reuters, citing the Kremlin.
However, Reuters noted that the U.N. Commission of Inquiry reported that Assad is in control of 70 percent of the country’s territories.
Turkish forces are currently present in much of the north and northwest of Syria, assisting anti-Assad rebels, according to Reuters. U.S. military in the country helps Kurdish militias.
Assad praised Russian and Syrian forces in “liberating occupied territories” and was critical of some “antihuman” sanctions other countries placed on Syria, Reuters noted.
The United States tightened sanctions on Syria last year in an effort to force Assad to end the decadelong war.
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