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Iran slams looting in Syria, urges immediate withdrawal of foreign troops

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
In this file picture, a convoy of US military vehicles drives through the northeastern Syrian town of Qahtaniyah on the border with Turkey. (Photo by AFP)

Iran’s permanent ambassador to the United Nations (UN) has denounced the continued looting of Syria's natural resources, crude oil and agricultural products, stating that all foreign occupation forces, including American troops, must pull out of the war-ravaged country immediately and unconditionally.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran once again condemns the plunder of the Syrian nation’s natural resources, especially oil and agricultural products in areas occupied by foreign forces. The criminal act is in clear violation of Syria's territorial sovereignty, relevant Security Council resolutions and the UN Charter,” Majid Takht-Ravanchi said at a UN Security Council session on Thursday.

He stressed that the Syrian crisis cannot be resolved unless the presence of foreign occupation forces ends, and all Takfiri terrorist groups are eradicated.

“Syria's sovereignty and territorial integrity cannot be endangered in the name of fighting terrorism. Therefore, all occupying and uninvited foreign forces, including American troops, must leave the country immediately and without any preconditions,” the Iranian diplomat noted.

The US military has stationed forces and equipment in eastern and 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, however, says the unlawful deployment is meant to plunder the country’s resources.

Former US president Donald Trump admitted on several occasions that American forces were in Syria for its oil.

After failing to oust the Syrian government with the help of its proxies and direct involvement in the conflict, the US government has now stepped up its economic war on the Arab country.

Turkey has also deployed forces in Syria in violation of the Arab country's territorial integrity. 

Ankara-backed militants were deployed to northeastern Syria in October 2019 after Turkish military forces launched a long-threatened cross-border invasion in a declared attempt to push fighters of the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) away from border areas.

Ankara views the US-backed YPG as a terrorist organization tied to the homegrown Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which has been seeking an autonomous Kurdish region in Turkey since 1984.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and other senior officials have said Damascus will respond through all legitimate means available to the ongoing ground offensive by Turkish forces in the northern part of the Arab country.

Also on Thursday, Takht-Ravanchi condemned the Tel Aviv regime’s acts of aggression against Syria, stating that the March 7 Israeli air raids on several sites near the capital Damascus were in flagrant violation of the international humanitarian law.

“We call on the UN Security Council to hold the regime to account for such acts of aggression, as well as its explicit threats to use force against other countries in the region, which will endanger the regional peace and security,” the Iranian envoy highlighted.

He went on to express concern about the dire humanitarian situation in Syria.

“According to the UN estimates, 14.6 million Syrians need humanitarian aid. The figure marks a 9% increase compared to the preceding year. The COVID-19 epidemic has also exacerbated the country's fragile humanitarian situation.

“Given the dire humanitarian situation in Syria, where a significant proportion of the civilian infrastructure is in ruins, imposition of unilateral sanctions on Syrian people has had catastrophic consequences on all aspects of their lives and is in contrast to some aspects of the Security Council Resolution 2585, which says initial recovery projects are vital for Syrians and that displaced people must be allowed to return home,” Takht-Ravanchi said.

The Iranian diplomat said unilateral sanctions against Syria have also affected the efforts of international and national humanitarian organizations there.

He underlined the need for the immediate removal of sanctions and an end to all illegal and destructive actions against Syria, saying, “It is very hypocritical to make claims of paying attention to the difficult humanitarian situation in Syria at the same time as supporting unilateral sanctions against Syrian people.”

Syria has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy since March 2011. The Syrian government says the United States, the Israeli regime, and their Western and regional allies are aiding Takfiri terrorist groups that are spreading insecurity in the country.


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