Russian Federation says USA presence in Syria illegal, protects oil smugglers

A US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces fighter at a check point near the Omar oil field base eastern Syria

US says it will increase military presence in Syria to protect oil after Kurdish forces pull back to...

Russian Defense Ministry Spokesman Igor Konashenkov said on Saturday that the United States is involved in smuggling Syrian oil to other countries, with the convoys of stolen oil being guarded by USA private military companies and special operations forces.

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

Given that the cost of one barrel of oil smuggled from Syria is 38 USA dollars, the monthly revenue of the "private business" of US public services exceeds 30 million dollars, he said.

The mission will take place even as some 1,000 USA troops are being withdrawn from a separate mission near the Turkish border, where troops from Turkey and Russian Federation will conduct joint patrols in areas previously held by US troops and allied Syrian Kurdish militias.

But even as Trump heralded his push to pull almost all United States troops out of what he derided as the "blood-stained sands" of Syria, he's repeatedly referred to the country's oil fields as prized land that he's intent on protecting.

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Trump has even emphasized that oil is one of the advantages the U.S. will get out of his decision to redeploy and withdraw American troops from Syria. "We will NEVER let a reconstituted ISIS have those fields!" Syrian Democratic Forces fighters and a KRG border official confirmed the USA military crossing earlier in the day. "Going well!" Trump said.

The tumult erupted in northern Syria this month when Trump ordered United States troops in the region to stand aside as Turkey attacked Kurdish militias America relied on to squash ISIS.

Russian Defence Ministry spokesman Maj.

"We have a lot of oil", Trump told reporters at the White House on Friday.

The US was taking the action to "ensure that we can deny ISIS access to the oil fields", Esper said.

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Retired General Barry McCaffrey condemned the plans on Sunday, following Trump's suggestion he wants to bring in Exxon Mobil or another USA oil company "to go in there and do it properly.and spread out the wealth" from the oil fields.

The senior defense official said Marine Gen.

"Like it or not but it's owned by the Syrian SYP", McGurk said, referring to the state-owned Syrian Petroleum Company. I think the incursion was unwarranted.

The Russian Defence Ministry previously published satellite photos showing how Syrian crude was being smuggled from oil facilities guarded by the USA for processing overseas.

Some 200 pro-Russian mercenaries were believed to have been killed in a coalition strike as the fighters tried to seize a post of the Syrian Democratic Forces where U.S. troops were present.

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A quiet arrangement has existed between the Kurds and the Syrian government, whereby Damascus buys the surplus through middlemen in a profitable smuggling operation that has continued despite political differences.

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