All illegal foreign troops must leave Syria: Putin

SAINT PETERSBURG, RUSSIA - MARCH 16: (RUSSIA OUT) Russian President Vladimir Putin gestures during his meeting with health workers at the Almazov Medical National Research Centre on March 16, 2018 in Saint Petersburg, Russia. The 2018 Russian Presidential Elections will take place on March 18. (Photo by Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images)

All foreign military forces illegally stationed in Syria must withdraw from the country, Russian President Vladimir Putin said in an interview published on Saturday.

“All the forces deployed illegitimately inside any sovereign state – in this case Syria – must leave,” Putin told Russian news channel RT, British Sky News and Saudi-funded channel Al-Arabiya.

Russia will pull its troops out of Syria as well if Damascus does not need Moscow’s help anymore, Putin was quoted by RT as saying.

“Syria must be free from other states’ military presence. And the territorial integrity of the Syrian Arab Republic must be completely restored,” Putin said, adding that he had openly discussed the issue with Iranian, Turkish and U.S. partners.