Moscow Brands US Presence in Syria as Close to Occupation

Russia has criticized Washington’s disregard for international law following a report that US troops will remain in Syria after the defeat of ISIS in order to prop up local Kurdish forces and put pressure on Damascus.

According to RT, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Thursday that there were no legal grounds for the US to have a military presence in Syria. “They are there not only without permission from Damascus, but also in direct violation of the wishes of the Syrian government. In fact, what they are doing could be described as occupation,” the official added.

 Zakharova’s remarks came in response to an article published in Washington Post on Wednesday, which quoted anonymous US officials who said the goals of the Trump administration in Syria had shifted from defeating terrorists to influencing Syrian politics.

“US Defense Secretary [James Mattis] openly said on November 13 that the American troops will not leave Syria until progress is made with a political resolution. The conditions of which, we presume, the US wants to dictate arbitrarily,” Zakrarova said. “We have noted on numerous occasions that such statements cast a serious doubt about what the true goals of the US-led coalition are in Syria.”

Shamanov: US Plan to Keep Its Troops Presence in Syria after Daesh Defeat Utter Brazenness

According to Itar Tass, Chairman of the State Duma Committee for Defense Vladimir Shamanov has castigated Washington’s ‘brazenness’ in seeking to keep its troop presence in Syria after terrorists are quashed.

"This is utter brazenness, these are phonies, breaking into someone else’s abode," he told reporters on Thursday.

"I specifically meant them, a third power, when I said that any future post-war settlement process will depend on outside factors. First and foremost, the Americans with their unpredictable behavior," he stressed.

The Washington Post earlier reported that the US authorities plan to maintain their military presence in Syria after Daesh defeat, in particular to prevent the Syrian army forces from regaining control there. According to the newspaper, "the defeat of the Islamic State in Syria could be imminent" and the American military will have no justification for remaining on the republic’s soil.