MOSCOW, February 21. /TASS/. The United States’ claims it must preserve its military presence in Syria exclusively for struggle against terrorism evoke questions, Russia’s special representative for the Middle East and Africa, Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said at the opening of the 11th Middle East Conference of the Valdai international discussion club on Monday.
"The US presence in Syria beyond the Euphrates and in the south, in Al-Tanf is not legitimate. It was not authorized by the UN Security Council. Nor was it requested by the legitimate authorities in Damascus," Bogdanov said.
"It is a very important question in general: what is the Americans’ strategy in Syria? What are they after? If what our US partners are telling us is true and their sole purpose is to fight against terrorism, I have a question to ask: for how much longer will this struggle continue and where is its concrete result?" Bogdanov said.
The senior Russian diplomat said that the area beyond the Euphrates was crucial to Syria’s economy: "there is food and there is oil." If only Damascus were in control of that territory, the socio-economic situation in the country would be much better, Bogdanov stressed.