Syria blasts US for tying military presence to peace talks

DAMASCUS: Damascus yesterday blasted US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis for saying a US-led coalition would continue fighting in Syria until talks to end the conflict there make progress, reports AFP.

Mattis told reporters on Monday that the US-led coalitions goal was to battle the Islamic State group while finding a diplomatic solution to Syrias six-year war.

But Syrias foreign ministry shot back on Tuesday, saying it categorically rejected US efforts to link peace talks to military action.

Linking the USs presence in Syria to a settlement process is just a pretext and an attempt to justify this presence, said a source at the foreign ministry, quoted by state news agency SANA.

The United States and others will not be able to impose any solution with military pressureon the contrary, this presence will only prolong and complicate the crisis, said the statement.

It demanded the immediate and

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