Syria: Russian military police enter base in Raqqah as US troops leave
Source: Press TV
Russian military police have taken control of a base near Syria’s northern city of Raqqah only a few days after US servicemen left the site, which lies in a strategic area at a crossroads linking the strategic city with the central and northern regions of the war-ravaged country.
Russia’s state-run TASS news agency reported that Russian forces entered the base, a former school building in the village of Tal Samin and located 26 kilometers (16 miles) north of the provincial capital Raqqah, on Thursday.
“By the end of the day, the unit will be stationed and, in a manner of speaking, we will carry out patrols … to protect local civilians starting from today,” Russian military officer Arman Mambetov said after the Russian flag was hoisted above the base.
The development came as Syrian authorities had earlier stated that foreign-sponsored Takfiri militants were using important roads in Tal Samin to transport ammunition and personnel when the area was under US control.
In late October, Washington reversed an earlier decision to pull out all of its troops from northeastern Syria, announcing the deployment of about 500 soldiers to the oil fields controlled by Kurdish forces in the Arab country.
The US claimed that the move was aimed at protecting the fields and facilities from possible attacks by the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group. That claim came although US President Donald Trump had earlier suggested that Washington sought economic interests in controlling the oilfields.
Pentagon chief Mark Esper then threatened that the US forces deployed to the oil fields would use “military force” against any party that might seek to challenge control of the sites, even if it were Syrian government forces or their Russian allies.
Syria, which has not authorized American military presence in its territory, has said the US is “plundering” the country’s oil.
A senior advisor to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said on Wednesday that Damascus plans to file a lawsuit against Washington for plundering the Arab country’s oil resources.
Bouthaina Shaaban said the United States has no right to Syria’s oil, and the Arab country is going to sue it over a plan to steal the oil resources.
Shaaban warned the US of popular opposition and operations against the presence of American troops at Syrian oil fields, and insisted on the exit of all foreign occupiers, whether they are terrorists, Turks or Americans.