Zakharova: US Wants Syria Breakup, Not Political Resolution
"But let us be clear: the United States will maintain a military presence in Syria," Tillerso
Speaking at a news briefing on Thursday, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova cited a recent speech by US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson at Stanford University as a proof of Washington's hostile policy towards Syria.
"In the wake of US Secretary of State's speech in Stanford and reports from US military sources about the creation of some armed groups under the US patronage to guard the border in northern Syria, populated mostly by Kurds, the new US strategy looks in no way other than a policy of dismembering that country," Zakharova said.
Earlier this month, the US announced that it will work, along with a coalition of its allies purportedly fighting Daesh [the Arabic acronym for terrorist ‘ISIS/ISIL' group], with militants of the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces [SDF] to set up a new 30,000-strong "border security" force in Syria.
Tillerson also hinted at an open-ended military presence in Syria as part of a broader strategy to pave the way for the "eventual departure" of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
"But let us be clear: the United States will maintain a military presence in Syria," Tillerson said.
He further called for economic pressure on the Syrian government, saying, "Once Assad is gone from power, the United States will gladly encourage the normalization of economic relationships between Syria and other nations."
For her part, Zakharova stressed that Washington's stance on Syria violates international law.
"The US continues to proclaim the removal of the legally elected president of Syria from power," she said.
"We are convinced that such an approach contradicts international law and does not contribute to a political settlement of intra-Syrian problems on the basis of UN Security Council Resolution 2254," she added.
Zakharova further warned of the "dangerous challenges" of a delay in integrating the Syrian society.