In October 2019, President Donald Trump announced that the US would be withdrawing its forces from Syria, but eventually backtracked, saying that a “small” American contingent would stay behind to allegedly “keep” the Syrian oil from being seized by Daesh*.
Iran’s permanent ambassador to the United Nations (UN) Majid Takht-Ravanchi has called for the immediate and full-fledged withdrawal of US troops from Syria.
He questioned American forces’ current role in Syria, insisting that instead of fighting terrorism, they “continue supporting UN-designated terrorist groups such as al-Nusra Front* as well as looting the oil and wealth of the Syrian people”.
American military convoy stops near the town of Tel Tamr, north Syria, Sunday, Oct. 20, 2019.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif earlier noted that Tehran would work to strengthen economic cooperation with Syria amid Washington’s restrictive measures under the US Caesar Act, which stipulates sanctioning almost all Syrian economic and trade activities, as well as government officials.
Senior US Official Boasts About Lying to Trump to Keep US Troops in Syria
Ambassador Takht-Ravanchi’s statement comes a few weeks after Jim Jeffrey, outgoing US special representative for Syria and special presidential envoy for the western coalition against Daesh, told the news outlet Defence One that he and members of his staff deliberately covered up the true size of the US military footprint in Syria from President Donald Trump.
“When the situation in northeast Syria had been fairly stable after we defeated ISIS, [Trump] was inclined to pull out. In each case, we then decided to come up with five better arguments for why we needed to stay. And we succeeded both times. That’s the story”, the US envoy added.
He argued that the actual number of US troops in Syria is “a lot more” than the estimated 200-400 that POTUS agreed to leave behind in 2019 to “secure” the country’s oil fields and prevent them from falling into the hands of the Syrian government or terrorists.
American troops, jointly with the Arab-Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), maintain control over a part of northeastern Syria as the US-led coalition of more than 60 nations has been carrying out airstrikes and other operations against terrorists in Syria since September 2014.
The coalition operates in Syria without the approval of the Assad government or any UN Security Council authorisation. Damascus, in turn, sees the US presence on Syrian soil as a violation of national sovereignty and an attempt to seize the country’s natural resources.
*Daesh (ISIS/ISIL/Islamic State), al-Nusra, terrorist groups banned in Russia and a number of other countries.
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