BEIRUT, LEBANON (11:00 P.M.) – Syria will not tolerate any militant presence inside the Idlib Governorate, nor will it accept a U.S. base in the Al-Tanf region of Homs, the assistant regional secretary of the Arab Socialist Baath Party, Hilal Hilal, told reporters on Thursday, as quoted by Sputnik News Agency.
“It is absolutely not our fault that [militants] are here. Why should we tolerate their presence on our soil now? They can leave our territory and go to any other country … These groups have two options: either to leave Syrian soil or face the power of the Syrian Arab army,” Hilal said.
Hilal said that the Syrian government will continue to push for the U.S. to withdraw from the Al-Tanf Base in southern Homs.
According to Hilal, the U.S. is planning to leave a few soldiers in the Al-Tanf Zone, which he says is unacceptable.
“Syria has a right to defend any part of the country from foreign occupation. Syrian President Bashar Assad has always said this. We believe that any foreign base created on Syrian soil without the consent of the president and the government of Syria represents an occupation and aggressive forces,” Hilal continued.
“Of course, we will fight the existence of such bases on our territory. I am speaking not only about the military bases but also about people involved in these activities, armed formations and even states,” Hilal added.