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Russian envoy: US military presence in Syria violates international laws

In this file picture, a convoy of US armored vehicles patrols the northeastern Syrian town of Qahtaniyah at the border with Turkey. (Photo by AFP)

A senior Russian diplomat has denounced the United States for maintaining troops in Syria, saying it violates international laws because the US military presence has no UN Security Council mandate or official approval from the Syrian government.

“Washington’s policies neither do help the restoration of stability nor improve the status quo in Syria. They do not cement the Syrian government’s sovereignty, and instead adversely affect the situation in the entire Middle East,” Anatoly Antonov, Russia’s Ambassador to the United States, said on Friday, the Sputnik news agency reported. 

 “The US military presence on Syrian soil violates international laws, as the forces occupy certain areas in the country under the pretext of carrying out anti-terrorist missions,” he said.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Antonov roundly dismissed the accusations leveled by the US Department of Defense against Russia concerning alleged “unprofessional behavior in Syrian airspace,” stressing it is the US that infringes upon the rules of aviation there.

The Russian ambassador noted that such comments go beyond the limits of decency and lack any rationality, and are meant to deviate the world public opinion from the fact that Americans themselves violate air safety rules in the Syrian airspace on a daily basis.

Russian planes in Syria targeted by US drones

On Thursday, Deputy Head of the Russian Reconciliation Center for Syria, Rear Admiral Oleg Gurinov, said electronic fire guidance systems of US unmanned aerial vehicles in Syria emit signals that target Russian warplanes and automatically trigger their defensive aide suites (DAS), which is a military aircraft system that defends it from attack by surface-to-air missiles, air-to-air missiles and guided anti-aircraft artillery.

“Of grave concern are reports received from the Russian Aerospace Forces pilots, who have recorded cases of US drones using their electronic fire guidance systems on Russian warplanes, automatically activating their on-board defensive aide suites,” Gurinov said.

He added that Russia continues to register ongoing violations of de-escalation protocols, which unmanned aerial vehicles operated by the US-led military coalition in Syria have to comply with.

“Nine violations were registered over the past 24 hours. All of them occurred in northern Syria, where the airspace is closed and all air traffic stopped amid a joint Russian-Syrian military exercise,” Gurinov pointed out.

The US military has stationed forces and equipment in northeastern Syria, with the Pentagon claiming 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 rich mineral resources.

Former US President Donald Trump admitted on more than one occasion that American forces were in the Arab country for its oil.

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