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 EsperOvernight Defense & National Security — Afghanistan concerns center stage with G-20 US Army investigating raising of Confederate flag at base in Germany Overnight Defense & National Security — Pentagon officials get grilling from House 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. 

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 TrumpRobert Gates says 'extreme polarization' is the greatest threat to US democracy Cassidy says he won't vote for Trump if he runs in 2024 Schiff says holding Bannon in criminal contempt 'a way of getting people's attention' 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 GrahamRepublicans' mantra should have been 'Stop the Spread' Senators preview bill to stop tech giants from prioritizing their own products Democrats fret as longshot candidates pull money, attention MORE (R-S.C.) 

In a meeting earlier this week, Turkish President Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinEquilibrium/Sustainability — Presented by Altria — Hot mic catches Queen criticizing 'irritating' climate inaction Putin directs sexist remark at US anchor Navalny, Afghan women among those under consideration for EU human rights prize MORE carved up the northeastern Syrian border to rid the 19-mile strip of land of Kurdish militia.