US Secretary of Defense James Mattis stated that the UN approved of the US entering Syria because the UN had approved resolutions against ISIS.
“You know, the UN said that ISIS — basically we can go after ISIS,” Mattis told reporters on November 13, answering a question about the legal grounds for the US presence in Syria.
The Head of Pentagon said that the US were there to “take ISIS out”, at the same time stressing the importance of the Geneva settlement process held under the auspices of the UN: “But that doesn’t mean we just walk away and let ISIS 2.0 pop back around as if we’re surprised either. So we got to get the UN-brokered effort in Geneva to take this thing forward,” he added.
The Security Council have not explicitly allowed the US to intervene in Syria.
The US presence in Syria has been repeatedly criticized by Damascus, which stressed that any foreign military operation taking place without government approval would be considered an illegal invasion. Russia began its operation against ISIS in Syria after the request of the Damascus government.
The US administration has yet to receive the approval of Congress for conducting any military operations abroad, but this rule is constantly violated. The continued fight against terrorists in Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Libya is explained by the fact that Congress allowed the Pentagon to fight Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan after the 9/11 attacks.
Former UN Director-General Sergei Ordzhonikidze said that Jim Mattis made himself a “laughingstock” by saying the United Nations allegedly approved the presence of the country’s forces in Syria.
“He just doesn’t understand or know what he is saying, and apparently he has no decent advisers who could tell him how to act… It is, I believe, just a shame to say things like this, for such a large state, a superpower, like the United States,” Ordzhonikidze stressed.
Moreover, he added that the United States presence in Syria was illegal and was “an attempt to justify in an awkward way the illegal stay of US-led coalition forces in Syria”.