Direct conflict between Russian, US forces ‘narrowly avoided’, Assad claims

Direct conflict between Russian, US forces ‘narrowly avoided’, Assad claims
Assad claims he is open to talks with SDF (AFP)
Updated 01 June 2018

Direct conflict between Russian, US forces ‘narrowly avoided’, Assad claims

Direct conflict between Russian, US forces ‘narrowly avoided’, Assad claims
  • Assad said the US forces should learn the lesson of Iraq and leave Syria
  • During the interview Assad also said the regime was "open to" negotiations

DAMASCUS: Syrian President Bashar Assad has told Russian television that direct conflict between his ally Russia and the United States in Syria was narrowly avoided.

"We were close to have direct conflict between the Russian forces and the American forces," Assad said in English in an interview with Russia Today, aired Thursday, without giving further details.

During the interview he also said his regime would also take back areas held by US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), and that US forces should learn the lesson of Iraq and leave the country.

Assad said the government had “started now opening doors for negotiations” with the SDF, a Kurdish dominated militia alliance that controls parts of northern and eastern Syria where US forces are stationed.

“This is the first option. If not, we’re going to resort to... liberating those areas by force,” he said, adding “the Americans should leave, somehow they’re going to leave.”

Responding to US President Donald Trump’s description of him as “Animal Assad,” the Syrian leader said: “What you say is what you are.”