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US has no clear strategy for Syria — Russian defense minister

July 11, 12:09 UTC+3 MOSCOW

The Russian defense minister emphasized that in the past years, the US had not spent a cent to help civilians in Syria

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© Valeriy Sharifulin/TASS

MOSCOW, July 11. /TASS/. The United States has no clear strategy for Syria, Russian Defense Minister Army General Sergei Shoigu said in an interview with Italy’s Il Giornale daily published on Wednesday.

"Since US lawmakers and experts have been calling on the government to clarify its strategy for Syria, our country is not the only one who does not get it," Shoigu said. He added that "if there is some basis for our American counterparts’ actions in Syria, it is too contradictory to be called a strategy."

The Russian defense minister pointed out that Washington had been changing its view of the US military presence in Syria. "I would like to recall that initially, it was about defeating the ISIL [the former name of the Islamic State terror group outlawed in Russia - TASS], then about preventing the re-emergence of the ISIL and now statements are being made about the need to preserve military presence in Syria in order to deter Iran’s alleged influence," Shoigu said.

According to him, "one can’t help thinking that the United States’ chief objective in Syria is to prevent the situation from stabilizing, prolong the conflict and undermine the country’s territorial integrity by creating enclaves not controlled by the government in Syria’s remote regions." Shoigu added that militants who had received training in the US-controlled areas of Syria were fighting against the Syrian army, getting enough arms and ammunition.

The Russian defense minister also emphasized that in the past years, the US had not spent a cent to help civilians in Syria, particularly in the city of Raqqa liberated with the assistance of the US military.

"On the other hand, not a single incident has been recorded during the Syrian troops’ operations to liberate various regions and localities. Demining activities took place there, people received food and construction materials they needed to resume a peaceful life as soon as possible," the Russian defense minister said.

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