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China blasts 'wealthy' US for illegally occupying 'poor' Syria, plundering its resources

In this file picture, US occupation forces are seen at an undisclosed location in Syria’s northeastern province of Hasakah. (Photo via Twitter)

A Chinese foreign ministry spokesman has denounced the illegal presence of US military forces in Syria, saying Washington’s continued looting of the war-torn country’s energy and mineral resources has only exacerbated the suffering of the Syrian people.

“It is appalling to see the sheer scale of US plundering in Syria, which has been going on as the country tries to emerge from a crisis that has dragged on for over a decade and a grave humanitarian crisis facing its people," Zhao Lijian said at a regular press conference in Beijing on Tuesday.

"There is no greater injustice than the world’s wealthiest country robbing one of the poorest,” he hastened to add.

The spokesperson stressed that the US aerial attacks across Syria have resulted in a high number of civilian casualties and immeasurable economic loss, and displaced more than 12 million people.

“Just last week, the US military launched another round of airstrikes in eastern Syria in a string of violations against Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Zhao noted, referring to the August 26 attack in Deir al-Zour province.

The spokesman decried harsh US economic sanctions on Syria, arguing that the bans have cut the Syrian nation off basic necessities of life and seriously obstructed the country’s economic development and reconstruction.

“US troops control Syria’s oil, natural gas and other natural resources. They continue to occupy Syria’s main oil fields and have plundered more than 80% of the country’s oil products. They have smuggled and burned Syria’s grain stock, exacerbating the humanitarian crisis there,” Zhao stressed.

“The US should thoroughly reflect on its war-related crimes, stop its illegal military presence and operations in Syria, lift unilateral sanctions on Syria, and stop stealing oil and grain from Syria. The US needs to return to Syrian people the freedom, wealth and dignity that are rightfully theirs."

The US military has for long stationed its forces 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, however, maintains the deployment is meant to plunder the country’s natural resources. Former US president Donald Trump admitted on several occasions that American forces were in the Arab country for its oil wealth.

On Monday, Iran’s deputy permanent representative to the United Nations said the United States has unlawfully stationed its military in the energy-rich northeastern part of Syria under the pretext of "combating terrorism", urging an end to the US occupation of Syria and its support for terrorism.

Zahra Ershadi made the remarks at a United Nations Security Council meeting on the situation in the Middle East (Syria) in New York.

“The United States’ presence in the northeast of Syria under the pretext of combating terrorism is a clear violation of the UN Charter, international law, and the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria,” Ershadi remarked.

“It is the United States that is working with the terrorist groups in Syria and destabilizing peace and security in the region. The United States must cease its violation of international law and the UN Charter by ending its continuing support for terrorist groups and occupation of the northeastern part of Syria.”

The Iranian diplomat called on the Security Council to live up to its Charter mandate and demand that the US honor its international obligations.

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