Russia calls increased US military presence in Syrian oil fields 'banditry'

Russia calls increased US military presence in Syrian oil fields 'banditry'

The Russian government on Saturday criticized the U.S. for bolstering military resources in eastern Syria, calling the move an “act of international state banditry,” Rueters reports

The increased military presence in the area comes after U.S. Defense Secretary Mark EsperMark EsperPeace deal with US to be signed by months' end, Taliban says US defense chief says Taliban deal 'looks very promising' but not without risk Trump defense chief hits 'predatory' China as rising global threat MORE said on Friday that Washington would send more troops and vehicles into the area to secure the local oil fields. The increased protection would reportedly ensure that fields were not overtaken by Islamic State (ISIS) insurgents. 

Reuters reports that in a statement released by Russia, the country claimed that the U.S. had no international legal jurisdiction to increase military presence around the oil fields. The statement went on to say that there was no real security threat in the area. 

“Therefore Washington’s current actions - capturing and maintaining military control over oil fields in eastern Syria - is, simply put, international state banditry,” the statement reads. 

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The document went on to state that U.S. troops are “protecting oil smugglers that make more than $30 million a month,” Rueters reports.

The international squabble comes after President TrumpDonald John TrumpRussian sanctions will boomerang States, cities rethink tax incentives after Amazon HQ2 backlash A Presidents Day perspective on the nature of a free press MORE pulled 1,000 troops out of the Turkey/Syria border earlier this month amid a Turkish offensive against Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a Kurdish military faction. 

The removal of American troops sparked bipartisan upheaval, drawing criticism even from Trump’s most ardent supporters like Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamSenate braces for fight over impeachment whistleblower testimony US defense chief says Taliban deal 'looks very promising' but not without risk Lawmakers wary as US on cusp of initial deal with Taliban MORE (R-S.C.) 

In a meeting earlier this week, Turkish President Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinHow impeachment damaged US foreign policy Trump administration mulling special negotiator for nuke talks with Russia: report Former Goldman Sachs CEO rips Sanders after NH win: 'He'll ruin our economy' MORE carved up the northeastern Syrian border to rid the 19-mile strip of land of Kurdish militia.