In Syria there are several thousand US troops, not several hundred, according to Washington. This was stated by the President of the Arab Republic Bashar al-Assad in an interview with Chinese television channel Phoenix. According to him, this number includes employees of private military companies (PMCs).
“In its wars, the US regime relies heavily on PMCs such as Blackwater in Iraq and others. Even if there were several hundred US troops in Syria, in addition to them, thousands, maybe tens of thousands of employees of such companies are fighting in the country. That’s why it’s difficult to establish a real figure, but the bill definitely goes into the thousands, ”Assad quotes SANA.
At the same time, Assad does not blame US President Donald Trump for continuing the American presence in Syria. According to the head of the Arab Republic, the political system of the United States is controlled by lobbyists. In particular, this applies to Washington’s policy towards Damascus, Assad emphasized.
Asad called the fight against terrorism in the country as a measure against the American presence. According to the Syrian president, opposition groups loyal to the United States can be involved in this struggle as part of the peace process. The result will be the withdrawal of American forces from Syria.
Earlier, the head of the Pentagon, Mark Esper, said that about 600 US troops would remain in Syria. According to Reuters, the US contingent in the Arab Republic declined from about 1,000 to 600 after President Donald Trump announced his resignation from that Middle Eastern state in October.
However, Washington repeatedly emphasized that they would leave the military to “protect” oil fields. As Esper noted, the proceeds from the sale of oil will belong to the formation of the Syrian opposition - the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDS).
“The United States will maintain control of oil fields in northeastern Syria ... US forces will give a serious response to any forces that threaten them,” he said.
The Russian Ministry of Defense indicated that in practice, oil smuggling proceeds go to the accounts of American PMCs and intelligence services.
“Given that the cost of one barrel of Syrian smuggled oil is $ 38, the monthly revenue of this“ private business ”of US public services exceeds $ 30 million,” the department emphasized.
“Forces of mercenaries”
The tactics of “indirect war,” or “proxy war,” have long been used by the United States, said Alexei Podberezkin, director of the Center for Military-Political Research at MGIMO.
“The USA has long been using such a practice, the so-called proxy war, which is waged by mercenary forces. They perform tasks in the interests of the United States, and their numbers are indeed quite high. Bashar al-Assad is right when he speaks of several thousand people, ”he told RT.
The United States initially sent its troops to the Middle East to achieve destabilization in this region, and therefore they are not interested in reducing their presence here, Podberyozkin noted.
“The Americans didn’t develop a strategy for destabilizing the Middle and Middle East and deployed their troops; they didn’t do all this for this, so that they could withdraw. They will not withdraw troops from Syria until the end. Including they will not withdraw from Afghanistan. They will leave their advisers and private military companies, ”said the analyst.
At the same time, public statements about leaving the country or reducing its presence are used by Washington in order to hide its participation in conflicts in the territory of the Arab Republic, said Vladimir Bruter, an expert at the International Institute for Humanitarian and Political Studies.
“They are trying to hide these goals, trying to hide their military presence and trying to create a situation in which they will not leave Syria at all, trying to negotiate certain preferences with their complete departure. Therefore, the two times that Trump spoke about the withdrawal of troops, they did not lead to any result - the troops remained, ”he told RT.