20 Dec 2018 15:11

U.S. troops' presence in Syria not necessary for political settlement - Putin

MOSCOW. Dec 20 (Interfax) - There is no need for U.S. forces to be in Syria in order to settle the conflict there, Russian President Vladimir Putin said.

"Is the American troops' presence necessary? No, I don't think it's necessary," he said at his annual press conference in Moscow on Thursday.

There are no legitimate grounds for U.S. troops to be in Syria, Putin said.

"Let's not forget that the presence of U.S. troops in Syria is illegitimate, it has not been authorized by the UN Security Council, and a military contingent can be there only in accordance with a UN Security Council decision or at the invitation of the legitimate Syrian government," he said.

"As for us, we are there at the invitation of the legitimate Syrian government. There is none of that [with respect to U.S. troops], so if the U.S. has decided to withdraw its troops, that would be the right thing to do," Putin said.