Moscow has reminded Washington that its presence in Syria is illegal after the US-led coalition struck pro-government popular forces.
Washington however reserved the right for “defensive” attacks to achieve peace “from a position of strength.”
The US presence in Syria is “actually illegal,” the Russian Ambassador to the UN reminded his Western counterparts on Thursday at a closed-door meeting of the UN Security Council.
“Nobody invited them there,” Vasily Nebenzya stated, emphasizing that a hard fought for stability in Syria is being jeopardized by US actions.
On Wednesday, the US-led coalition said it carried out several “defensive” airstrikes on Syrian forces in Deir EzZor province in retaliation for what they described as an “unprovoked” attack on the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and foreign military “advisers” who are backed by US.
According to the Russian Defense Ministry, the Syrian pro-government unit was advancing against a “sleeper cell” of ISIL Takfiri terrorists near the former oil processing plant of al-Isba, when it suddenly came under massive air strikes. At least 25 of the popular forces were injured in the attack, the Russian MoD noted.
Damascus called the attack a war crime, while the Russian military asserted that Washington’s true goal is to capture “economic assets” in Syria.
The Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova affirmed that the US military presence in Syria poses a dangerous threat to the political process and territorial integrity of the country, while Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov called the strike another violation of Syria’s sovereignty by the US.
The US, however, remained unmoved, promising to continue to support the US-allied forces in Syria “at any cost.”
“We continue to support SDF with respect to defeating ISIL… ISIL is still there, and our mission is still to defeat ISIL,” Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White said Thursday.
“We will continue to support them. Our goal is to ensure that our diplomats can negotiate from a position of strength, with respect to the Geneva process.”