Russian Ministry of Defense says "the real reason for this illegal US activity in Syria is far from the ideals of freedom and slogans against terrorism proclaimed by Washington" and is about illegal smuggling of Syrian oil.
Russia's defense ministry says that the recent Pentagon decision to now boost U.S. troop presence in eastern Syria, near oil fields there to allegedly "deny access to the Islamic State," is actually "international state banditry" motivated by a desire to protect oil smugglers and not by real security concerns.
Under U.S. military protection, loaded tanker trucks leave Syria to other nations and the profits of this contraband reach the bank accounts of private military companies and Washington secret services, declared the Russian ministry Saturday.
Moscow, which backs Syrian President Bashar Assad and has helped him turn the tide of a bloody civil war, has long insisted that the U.S. military presence in the Persian nation is illegal.
Reuters reported that U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said on Friday that Washington would send armored vehicles and troops to the Syrian oil fields in order to prevent them from falling into the hands of Islamic State militants.
This statement came after President Donald Trump earlier this month pulled some 1,000 U.S. military personnel out of northeast Syria, a move that prompted Turkey to launch a cross-border incursion targeting the Kurdish YPG militia, a former U.S. ally against the Islamic State.
"Absolutely all the deposits of hydrocarbons and other minerals located in the Syrian territory do not belong to IS terrorists, let alone to the 'US defenders of IS terrorists', but exclusively to the Syrian Arab Republic," Igor Konashénkov, spokesman of Russian Ministry of Defense, stated.
Konashénkov also emphasized that "neither international law nor in U.S. law, nowhere does it exist and there cannot be a single legitimate task for U.S. troops to justify the protection and defense of hydrocarbon deposits belonging to Syria, from Syria itself and its people."
The Russian spokesperson called the escalation of U.S. troops in the region, “international state banditry.”
Russia Today reports that the spokesman expressed that "the real reason for this illegal US activity in Syria is far from the ideals of freedom and slogans against terrorism proclaimed by Washington" and is really about the illegal extraction and smuggling of Syrian oil.