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New US sanctions meant to revive terrorism in Syria, serve Israel: FM Muallem

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallem has denounced the latest round of United States economic sanctions against his country, saying the coercive measures are meant to revive terrorism in Syria and force Damascus to turn its back on the anti-Israel resistance front.

Speaking at a press conference in the capital Damascus on Tuesday, Muallem dismissed recent remarks by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and United States Special Representative for Syria Engagement James Jeffrey about the new financial restrictions against Syria, describing the comments as part of a “chorus of lies.”

“They are all liars because those seeking the interests of the Syrian people wouldn’t conspire against their livelihoods,” he highlighted.

Pompeo has called the anti-Syria sanctions, which came into force last week, “the beginning of what will be a sustained campaign of economic and political pressure” to deny the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad of “revenue and support.”

Jeffrey has also claimed that the United States will provide a “significant amount” of new humanitarian aid for Syria in the wake of the stringent sanctions.

Muallem then stressed that the latest US economic sanctions against Syria do not include any exemptions, and adversely affect the imports of food, medicine and medical devices.

“Syrian people are accustomed to unilateral sanctions, which have been imposed on them since 1978 under various pretexts. Syrians should try to use the latest sanctions as an opportunity to advance the national economy, achieve self-sufficiency, and deepen our cooperation with friends and allies,” he said.

Muallem also cast grave doubts over Washington’s hollow promises of assistance to Syria, especially as it has deployed military forces to the Arab country’s oil-rich regions, torches crop lands there and threatens any country, individual or entity that provides support to the Damascus government.

He went on to say that occupying US forces are heavily investing on the spread of terrorism in Syria and transfer of Daesh terrorist commanders from neighboring Iraq while providing tremendous support to the Jabhat Fateh al-Sham Takfiri terrorist group, formerly known as al-Nusra Front.

Muallem highlighted that the US defends the Israeli regime’s interests, and that is why it is fairly unlikely for Washington to withdraw its forces from the region.

The new sanctions, he added, were designed to force Syria to give up its alliance with the resistance front and accept normalization with the regime in Israel.

The top Syrian diplomat further slammed Turkey’s military intervention in his country.

Turkey is occupying swathes of Syrian land, said Muallem, adding history has taught that those who struggle for their freedom and sovereignty will eventually emerge victorious.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Muallem reiterated that Damascus is committed to a political solution to the ongoing crisis in Syria, and rejects any foreign interference in the work of the Constitutional Committee, which includes members of the incumbent Syrian government and opposition representatives.

He emphasized that the Syrian nation will not allow anyone to interfere in drafting their constitution, and will only accept a constitution that serves the interests of outsiders.

The Syrian foreign minister said the Syrian people are the only ones who will decide their own fate, and neither President Donald Trump nor any other US official is not entitled to discuss the matter.

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