DAMASCUS (Dispatches) – Top U.S. military officer General Mark Milley has visited American occupation forces in northern Syria a day after he met with the Zionist regime officials in the occupied territories.
The chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff made a stop at an undisclosed occupied base in northern Syria to talk with American troops and commanders about recommendations for the future of the Pentagon’s operations in the war-wracked Arab country.
The U.S. military has more than 900 troops at various locations in northeastern Syria without the consent of the Syrian government for what it claims to be “counter-terrorism operations and fight against the remnants of the Daesh terrorist group”. It also trains and advises the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a group of militants that oppose Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government.
Asked by reporters accompanying him about the deployment of American troops to Syria, Milley tied the mission to the security of the United States and its allies, saying, “If you think that that’s important, then the answer is ‘Yes.’”
Damascus condemned the trip by Milley, saying the move is “illegal” and a “flagrant violation” of the country’s sovereignty.
The Syrian Foreign Ministry made the remarks in a statement on Sunday.
“Syria strongly condemns this flagrant violation by the U.S. military official of the sovereignty and territorial integrity,” the ministry said, calling on Washington to immediately stop its systematic and continuous violations of international law as well as its support for militant groups in Syria.
The ministry said such practices will not make Damascus stop its fight against terrorism and it will remain steadfast in protecting its sovereignty, security and stability.
The U.S. and its allies invaded Syria in 2014 under the pretext of fighting Daesh. The terrorist group had emerged as Washington was running out of excuses to extend its regional meddling or enlarge it in scale.
The U.S.-led coalition sustains its illegal presence on the Arab country’s soil, although, Damascus and its allies defeated Daesh in late 2017.
Damascus has repeatedly urged the United Nations Security Council to end the U.S.-led military presence in the country, saying that illegal U.S. deployment is tantamount to occupation and aimed at plundering Syria’s natural resources.
In a latest case, the U.S. military has reportedly used dozens of tanker trucks to smuggle crude oil from Syria’s northeastern province of Hasakah to bases in neighboring Iraq, as Washington continues to ferociously loot energy resources in the war-torn country.
A convoy of 23 tankers, laden with oil from the energy-rich Jazira region, left Syria through the illegal Mahmoudiya border crossing on Saturday, and headed towards Iraqi territories, Syria’s official news agency SANA reported citing local sources.
Another 34 U.S. military tankers, loaded with Syrian crude oil, rumbled through al-Waleed border crossing of al-Ya’rubiyah region in separate convoys and entered the Iraqi territories.
The development came nearly a week after the U.S. military smuggled a consignment of stolen Syrian oil into the northern Iraqi region.