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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 EsperCORRECTED: Overnight Defense: COVID-19 stymies effort to study sexual assault at military academies | Biden, Saudi king speak ahead of Khashoggi report Female generals' promotions held back over fears of Trump's response: report Overnight Defense: Army details new hair and grooming standards | DC National Guard chief says Pentagon restricted his authority before riot | Colorado calls on Biden not to move Space Command 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 TrumpBiden to hold virtual bilateral meeting with Mexican president More than 300 charged in connection to Capitol riot Trump Jr.: There are 'plenty' of GOP incumbents who should be challenged 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 GrahamOvernight Defense: Biden sends message with Syria airstrike | US intel points to Saudi crown prince in Khashoggi killing | Pentagon launches civilian-led sexual assault commission Graham: Trump will 'be helpful' to all Senate GOP incumbents John Boehner tells Cruz to 'go f--- yourself' in unscripted audiobook asides: report MORE (R-S.C.) 

In a meeting earlier this week, Turkish President Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinFor better or worse: Which way will US-Saudi relations go under Biden? How to rethink Russia sanctions Tucker Carlson bashes CNN, claims it's 'more destructive' than QAnon MORE carved up the northeastern Syrian border to rid the 19-mile strip of land of Kurdish militia.