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 EsperPentagon chief: US giving Vietnam surplus ship for coast guard Talks stall on defense costs with South Korea Overnight Defense — Presented by Boeing — Stopgap spending bill includes military pay raise | Schumer presses Pentagon to protect impeachment witnesses | US ends civil-nuclear waiver in Iran 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 TrumpFive takeaways from the Democratic debate As Buttigieg rises, Biden is still the target Leading Democrats largely pull punches at debate 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 GrahamGraham: Report on alleged surveillance abuse in 2016 to be released Dec. 9 McConnell hopes Senate impeachment trial 'not too lengthy a process' Hillicon Valley: Progressives oppose funding bill over surveillance authority | Senators call for 5G security coordinator | Facebook gets questions over location tracking | Louisiana hit by ransomware attack MORE (R-S.C.) 

In a meeting earlier this week, Turkish President Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinAs Buttigieg rises, Biden is still the target Yang jokes first thing he'd say to Putin as president is 'Sorry I beat your guy' Biden: Impeachment hearings show 'Trump doesn't want me to be the nominee' MORE carved up the northeastern Syrian border to rid the 19-mile strip of land of Kurdish militia.