Syria’s top diplomat pressed Monday for a US-led military coalition to get out of his country and told the UN General Assembly meeting of world leaders that Damascus wants compensation for losses suffered by its oil and gas industry during an 11-year-long and ongoing civil war.
Hundreds of US troops are stationed in eastern Syria to help the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) fight ISIS terrorist group.
Syrian Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad said the coalition’s presence contradicts international law and “must end immediately and without conditions.”
“Fighting terrorism does not happen through an illegitimate international coalition that violates the sovereignty of states and destroys cities and villages,” he said, arguing that battling terrorism can’t work without “coordination” with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government.
The civil war began in 2011 with anti-government protests demanding democratic reforms but quickly escalated into fighting.
Hundreds of thousands of people have been killed, large parts of the country have been destroyed, half the country’s pre-war population has been displaced.
Amid the chaos, ISIS took over significant parts of Syria.
Though the group in 2019 lost the last sliver of land its fighters controlled, its sleeper cells are still active.
Mekdad said “direct and indirect” losses in Syria’s oil and gas sector have reached $107 billion since the conflict began.
He added that Damascus will demand compensation for these losses, an apparent reference to the US- SDF control of much of the oil fields in eastern Syria.
Amid the war, the US, some other countries and the European Union have imposed sanctions on Syria’s government and oil industry.
Mekdad complained that his country had been “economically besieged” by powers bent on imposing their will and retaining their wealth.
“In its broader context, the war on Syria was part of the West’s attempts to maintain its control over the world,” he said.