Russia calls US move to protect Syrian oil ‘banditry’

Moscow, Oct 26 (AP/UNB) — Russia’s Defense Ministry is harshly criticizing the United States’ decision to send armored vehicles and combat troops into eastern Syria to protect oil fields.

U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper says the move is aimed at keeping the fields from potentially falling into the hands of Islamic State militants.

But Russian ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said on Saturday that “what Washington is doing now, the seizure and control of oil fields in eastern Syria under its armed control, is, quite simply, international state banditry.”

He added in a statement that “all hydrocarbon deposits and other minerals located on the territory of Syria do not belong to the IS terrorists, and even less to the ‘American defenders from IS terrorists.’ but exclusively to the Syrian Arab Republic.”