Syria issues warning to foreign fighters

By (UPI) — Foreign Affairs

DAMASCUS, Syria, May 14 (UPI) — Foreign gunmen who came to Syria will be killed by the military if they don’t leave the country quickly, Syrian Information Minister Omran al-Zoubi said.

Zoubi told al-Manar, a news agency tied to Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah, that Syrian forces haven’t lost control on the ground. The military, however, needs to “besiege” certain areas to address the security situation in an effort to protect civilians from rebel attacks.

“Regarding foreign gunmen who came from Arab or foreign countries, we warn them and ask them to leave Syria quickly and in the same way they came in because they will be killed at the hand of the Syrian army,” he said.

Hezbollah fighters from Lebanon are suspected of playing a role in the Syrian conflict, as are other foreign insurgents.

Both parties to the Syrian conflict are accused of committing war crimes. Syrian forces are suspected of carving out areas of the country in what the Turkish government said was part of an ethnic cleansing campaign. Human Rights Watch said an online video, meanwhile, appears to show a rebel leader desecrating the corpse of a Syrian soldier.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov agreed last week to try to broker a political solution to the Syrian conflict. Zoubi said the Syrian government welcomed the effort but stressed that any political talks need to be inclusive.

Kerry said there’s no place for Syrian President Bashar Assad in a negotiated settlement.

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