Putin ‘testing Biden’s resolve’ in Syria as he accuses US of ‘violating’ international law

The Russian President also claimed that the presence of American soldiers was preventing a return to peace in the war-torn country. Mr Putin’s remarks came after a meeting in Moscow on Monday with Syria’s President Bashar-al-Assad. Washington currently has around 900 military personnel in the Kurdish-controlled east and northeast of Syria.

The troops are assisting their Kurdish counterparts in the fight against Islamic State, as they seek to protect US security interests.

Turkey has also deployed forces in much of the north and northwest, the last major bastion of anti-Assad rebels.

However, neither the US or Turkey has a UN mandate for military engagement in the country, nor have they received permission from Damascus – unlike Russia.

“This clearly violates international law and doesn’t allow you to make maximum efforts to consolidate the country,” Mr Putin reportedly told his Syrian counterpart.

He added: “Only a consolidation of all forces in Syria will allow the country to get on its feet and start steady development, moving forward.”

Moscow entered the 10-year Syrian conflict back in 2015, when Assad’s regime stood on the brink of collapse.

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Some think that this could involve new attacks on the US military in the Middle-Eastern country.

Neil Quilliam, an associate fellow in the Middle East and North Africa programme at Chatham House, told the Daily Telegraph: “Given Putin’s track record of testing US appetite for push back, notably in Crimea, we can expect him to test the resolve of Biden’s commitment to allies in Syria by fomenting clashes with American troops on the ground.”

Mr Assad’s visit to Moscow was one of the few trips he has made abroad since the start of the war in 2011.