News ID: 261029
Published: 1124 GMT November 02, 2019

Russia says US smuggling Syrian oil worth millions

Russia says US smuggling Syrian oil worth millions

The United States is violating its own anti-Syria sanctions by smuggling crude from oilfields it seized from Damascus, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said.

Each month, the US smuggles crude oil worth $30 million out of Syria, according to Zakharova. The fuel comes from fields in the northeastern part of the country, where the US maintains military presence after pulling its troops back from the Syrian-Turkish border.

“A nation that repeats ad nauseam that it sticks to democratic values and rule of law in international relations, is pumping oil… under a pretense of fighting ISIL,” the official said, using another term for the Daesh terrorist group.

Daesh had been fully destroyed in March this year, according to the statements of a US-led coalition. The narrative of the Americans does not hold water.

The remarks come after Washington reversed an earlier decision to pull out all troops from northeastern Syria, announcing last week the deployment of about 500 troops to the oilfields controlled by US-backed Kurdish forces.

Speaking earlier this week, Pentagon chief Mark Esper said the deployment will seek to secure oil resources from Daesh. Washington, he said, will use “overwhelming” force against any other actor challenging the US, including Syria’s own government.

The United States has used various means to attempt to topple Syrian government over the past eight years, from imposing harsh economic sanctions to arming and training whoever was willing to fight against Damascus. The fact that the US banned oil trade with Syria and is now smuggling oil out of it, is particularly ironic, Zakharova said.

Speaking last week, however, US President Donald Trump suggested that Washington sought economic interests by controlling the oil fields.

"We want to keep the oil, and we'll work something out with the Kurds so that they have some money, have some cash flow. Maybe we'll have one of our big oil companies to go in and do it properly," said Trump.

The developments come as Damascus is in great need of its major oil deposits in order to gain revenue and address its energy needs amid crippling unilateral Western sanctions targeting the war-ravaged country.

Due to the sanctions and war, Syria is currently extracting only 10 percent of its pre-war oil production capacity.

Zakharova said the US was effectively "bypassing its own sanctions" against Syria by seizing the country's oil.

She added that Washington was hypocritically declaring “commitment to some democratic values and international law" while flagrantly violating the country’s sovereignty. 

The spokeswoman stressed that it was within the rights of the international community to question America’s activities, warning that US troops were “not going to leave the areas in the near future”.

Syria, along with Iran and Turkey, have already denounced Washington’s illegal appropriation of Syrian oil.

Speaking on Tuesday, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif sarcastically praised Trump for admitting that he intends to “secure" the Syrian oil.

“At least President Trump is honest to say what the United States intends to do,” Zarif quipped.

RT and Press TV contributed to this story.




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