Russia accuses US of ‘banditry’ in protecting Syria’s oil

American soldiers stand near military trucks, at al-Omar oil field in Deir Al Zor on March 23, 2019. (Reuters)

Russia on Saturday accused the US of “international banditry” after Washington announced its intention to protect Syria’s oil fields, which are controlled by Kurdish forces.

The statement comes after US Defense Secretary Mark Esper said US troops were reinforcing their positions, including with mechanized forces, in Deir Ezzor, the country’s largest oilfields, near the Iraqi border.

Their mission will be to prevent ISIS from gaining access to oil fields and securing “resources that may allow them to strike within the region, to strike Europe, to strike the US,” Esper told reporters on a visit to Brussels.

Some 200 US troops are currently stationed there.

“What Washington is currently doing - seizing and placing under control the oil fields of eastern Syria - is simply international banditry,” Russia’s defense ministry said in a statement.

It said all hydrocarbon deposits in Syria do not belong to “the Islamic State terrorists” and “even less to US defenders against ISIS terrorists, but exclusively to the Syrian Arab Republic.”

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:56 - GMT 06:56