US-Backed Border Force in Syria Would Exacerbate Crisis

US-Backed Border Force in Syria  Would Exacerbate CrisisUS-Backed Border Force in Syria  Would Exacerbate Crisis

Iran criticized the US for its plan to back the formation of a 30,000-strong border force in Syria, saying it would only "fan the flames of war" there.

"The announcement of the US officials to create this force in Syria is an act of flagrant interference in the country's internal affairs, which would only complicate the Syrian crisis and would fan the flames of war there," Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qasemi was quoted by IRNA as saying on Tuesday.

On Sunday, the US said it was working with its Syrian militia allies, the mainly Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, to set up a force that would operate along the borders with Turkey and Iraq, as well as within Syria. Russia and Turkey responded vehemently on Monday to the announcement, with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov saying the US-led forces could set in train events that may lead to the "partition of Syria".

  Strongest Denunciation

The strongest denunciation came from an infuriated Turkish President, who has presided as relations between the United States and its biggest Muslim ally within NATO have stretched to the breaking point.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan blasted the announcement saying, "A country we call an ally is insisting on forming a terror army on our borders. Our mission is to strangle it before it's even born."

Turkey views the Kurdish forces as a national security threat. It says SDF, the backbone of the planned US-backed border force, are allies of the PKK, a banned Kurdish group waging an insurgency in southern Turkey.

Meanwhile, the Syrian government of President Bashar al-Assad also responded on Monday by vowing to crush the new force and drive US troops from the country. Qasemi called into question the wisdom of making such a decision at the time where the Syrian government and its allies have made great strides over the past two years in defeating terrorist groups such as the self-styled Islamic State.

He urged all US forces to leave the country immediately and let the future of Syria be determined by the majority of its people.

"It high time that the United State changed its meddling and destructive policies in the region," the diplomat said. In an apparent reference to the force, Secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani said on Monday that "any military or political move which aims to assign a part of Syria to terrorist groups runs counter to the interests of [Syrian] people as well as the region and is doomed."

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