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Russia slams US presence in Syria as ‘illegal, unacceptable’

Moscow has slammed Washington’s “illegal” presence in Syria amid reports that the US is building two military bases in the Arab country’s oil-rich east.

“Any actions whatsoever – we are not talking about anything in particular now – that the United States undertake to keep themselves militarily present in Syria are unacceptable and illegal from our point of view and under international law,” Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Vershinin said on Tuesday.

Vershinin made the remarks addressing recent Turkish media reports claiming that Washington was building two new bases in Syria’s eastern oil-rich province of Dayr al-Zawr.

Turkey’s Anadolu Agency has reported that up to 300 US soldiers have been deployed in the region along with armored vehicles and heavy weapons to set up the new bases, one near the former Syrian Air Defense Forces’ 113th Brigade base and another in the al-Sur region in the province.

The deployment came after the US effectively reversed an earlier decision to pull out all troops from northeastern Syria last month in the wake of a Turkish military operation against Washington’s longtime Kurdish allies in the region.

The Trump administration has claimed that the troops seek to “secure” the country’s oil-rich region from falling into the hands of the Daesh terrorist group.

Speaking on Tuesday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov likewise slammed Washington’s illegitimate presence in the country.

Lavrov stressed that there consequentially existed no agreement between Moscow and Washington regarding the latest developments in Syria.

“Reaching a long term accord with a country that shows contradictory behavior regarding improving the situation in Syria and boosting the Syrian territorial integrity will not be productive,” Lavrov said.

“I don’t see a reason for making secret agreements (in Syria),” he added.