Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad warned on February 17 that the U.S. would not protect those depending on it, in a clear hint to the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) which control northeastern Syria.
“We say to those groups who are betting on the Americans, the Americans will not protect you … The Americans will put you in their pockets so you can be tools in the barter, and they have started with (it),” the Syrian President said while he was welcoming the heads of local councils, according to Reuters.
Assad called on these US proxies to hand over their weapons to the army and join the reconciliation process while stressing that this is the only way to “retreat from mischief.”
“Nobody will protect you except your state … If you do not prepare yourselves to defend your country, you will be nothing but slaves to (Turkey),” he added.
U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw all U.S. troops from Syria revived Turkey’s plans to invade the northeastern part of the country. This forced the SDF to resume its talks with Damascus. However, the Kurdish-dominated group made very high demands, such as maintaining its independent military force.
Assad’s warning may indicate that a deal between his government and the SDF has been still not reached. Despite this, he appears to be confident that the U.S. will eventually carry on with the withdrawal decision.