WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – US Secretary of Defense James Mattis has said that the presence of the United States in Syria has been approved by the United Nations as Washington is engaged in the fight against Daesh (ISIS) terrorists.
"You know, the UN said that ISIS — basically we can go after ISIS," Mattis told reporters on Monday, answering a question about the legal grounds for the US presence in Syria, as quoted by the Pentagon.
The US Secretary of Defense said that Washington was in Syria in order "to take them out," at the same time stressing the importance of the Geneva settlement process held under the auspices of the UN so that the defeat of the terrorists "doesn't mean we just walk away and let ISIS 2.0 pop back around."
The US presence in Syria has been repeatedly criticized by Damascus, which stressed that any foreign military operation taking place without government approval would be considered an illegal invasion. Russia began its operation against Daesh in Syria after the request of the Damascus government.
The US administration has yet to receive the approval of Congress for conducting any military operations abroad, but this rule is constantly violated. The continued fight against terrorists in Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Libya is explained by the fact that Congress allowed the Pentagon to fight Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan after the 9/11 attacks.