MOSCOW (Dispatches) – Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has called on the U.S. to stop plundering Syria’s natural riches and focus on fighting terrorists instead.
Lavrov told a news conference on Friday that the United States and its allies in the military coalition purportedly formed to fight Daesh should eliminate threats, and stop the occupation of a large proportion of the Syrian soil as well as looting the country’s natural resources.
The U.S. military has stationed troops and equipment in northeastern Syria, with the Pentagon claiming that the deployment is aimed at preventing the oilfields in the area from falling into the hands of Daesh terrorists. Damascus says the deployment is meant to plunder the country’s resources.
Former U.S. president Donald Trump admitted on more than one occasion that American forces were in Syria for its oil.
“As for threats from Daesh, I do not think that they have grown seriously in Iraq or in Syria. Both countries have prevented the realization and implementation of caliphate plans designed by the Daesh terrorist group,” Lavrov said.
“We firmly support the government of Iraq in its efforts to wipe out the remaining pockets of terrorists. We can say the same about Syria,” he added.
Russia, which is legally present in Syria at the invitation of the Damascus government, is assisting the country’s security forces and army troops in defeating terrorism, he said.
“In Syria, terrorist groups other than Daesh are active. At the top of the list is Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham and its affiliates,” the top Russian diplomat said.
After failing to oust the Syrian government through proxies and direct involvement in the conflict, the U.S. government has stepped up its economic war on the Arab country.
Last June, the U.S. enacted the so-called Caesar Act that imposed the toughest sanctions ever on Syria with the alleged aim of choking off revenue sources for the government.
The sanctions, however, have crippled the war-torn country’s economy by prohibiting foreign companies from trading with Damascus.
Syria says the real purpose of the measures is to put pressure on Syrians and their livelihoods.
Officials also say the stepped-up smuggling of strategic Syrian resources is the latest inhumane tactic using people’s basic needs as a tool to pressure the government.