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Iran Press TV

Illegal US military deployment in Syria creates tensions in Middle East: Russia, Syria

Iran Press TV

Friday, 04 September 2020 5:02 AM

Russian and Syrian joint coordination committees on the repatriation of Syrian refugees have denounced the presence of US troops on the Syrian soil, stating that such an illegal military deployment stokes new tensions in the Middle East.

The committees, in a statement released on Thursday, cited the unlawful presence of US forces and militants affiliated with the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) as one of the serious matters of concern in northeastern Syria, Syria's official news agency SANA reported.

The statement then censured the agreement recently signed between a United States oil company and the Kurdish-led SDF militants.

It underlined that such illegal accords violate Syria's territorial integrity, and run contrary to the principles of the international law.

US Senator Lindsey Graham and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo referred to the oilfields deal between the SDF and a US firm during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing earlier last month.

The Syrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates at the time condemned in the strongest terms the agreement, calling it an illegal deal aimed at "stealing" Syria's crude oil under the sponsorship and support of the American administration.

It added, "This agreement is null and void and has no legal basis."

Delta Crescent Energy LLC is reportedly involved in the deal.

US dispatches 52 trucks loaded with military equipment to Syria's Hasakah

Also on Thursday, the US dispatched dozens of truckloads of military and logistical equipment to Syria's northeastern province of Hasakah.

Local sources in al-Swaidiyah village told SANA on condition of anonymity that a convoy of 52 trucks crossed the Waleed border crossing from neighboring Iraq, and headed toward US bases in the province.

Since late October 2019, the United States has been redeploying troops to the oil fields controlled by Kurdish forces in eastern Syria, in a reversal of President Donald Trump's earlier order to withdraw all troops from the Arab country.

The Pentagon claims the move aims to "protect" the fields and facilities from possible attacks by Daesh. That claim came although Trump had earlier suggested that Washington sought economic interests in controlling the oil fields.

The presence of US forces in eastern Syria has particularly irked the civilians, and local residents have on several occasions stopped American military convoys entering the region.

Syria, which has not authorized the presence of the US military in its territory, says Washington is "plundering" the country's oil.

US has no clear path forward in Syria

Senior US officials have on occasions complained about Washington's policies in Syria, arguing that the approaches of President Donald Trump's administration have stuck American troops fighting a 'forgotten war' and guarding oil and gas resources there, while Russian troops are making advances and help the Damascus government recover after nearly a decade of militancy.

"It's a clusterf**k in Syria," one top US intelligence official, who requested anonymity, told American weekly news magazine Newsweek. "We don't have a strategy."

Malcolm Nance, a former US Navy intelligence and counter-terrorism specialist, also compared the situation to another bloody quagmire for the Pentagon, and said the presence of Syrian troops on the Syrian soil is a political game with little payoff.

"A few special forces supported by artillery and armor units are very much akin to 2002 in Afghanistan. It is now a forgotten war," Nance said.

"The oil fields that US forces are now occupying do not produce anything that comes to North America… Trump is sitting on this field and risking US lives to say 'we took their oil,'" he told Newsweek.

The irony, Nance says, is that while there are oil fields, little is actually produced.

"The oil remains in the ground, the fields are unworked, and US soldiers are dying to fulfill a feeble man's pledge," Nance said.

The frustrations come as both candidates in the forthcoming US presidential race – former Vice President Joe Biden and Trump – have vowed to end the "endless wars" waged by their predecessors.

Trump has made no secret of his desire to send US oil companies to operate in Syria, and told reporters last month that the United States has simply "kept the oil."

This comes as there have cases of altercation involving US and Russian forces apparently trying to block one another's patrols.

"We proceed from the fact that American military presence in Syria [both in At-Tanf region in southern Syria and in the northeast] is illegal," Nikolay Lakhonin, a spokesperson for the Russian embassy in Washington, told Newsweek.

"Neither the UN Security Council, nor the government in Damascus gave their approval for the US to deploy troops," he pointed out.

"Besides the clear violation of international law, American presence in Syria has an undeniable negative impact on the lives of Syrians," Lakhonin said.

"By occupying major oil and gas reserves in the northeast, the US deprives the people of Syria from its own vital resources," he pointed out.



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