US actions ‘destroying all but IS’ in Syria

Air strikes in Syria
Air strikes in Syria

Russia has joined Syria’s criticism of US actions in the Middle East country which, it claims, encourage extremists.

Moscow’s defence ministry spokesman, Major General Igor Konashenkov, said on Wednesday that about 600 militants have moved from the area around Tanf near the Jordanian border in Syria’s southeast, where US military advisers are based.

He said they moved to Tafas, about 185 miles west.

Maj Gen Konashenkov said the militants seized two humanitarian convoys in Tafas and their relocation could derail a deal for a de-escalation zone in the area.
He said the US will bear responsibility if that happens.

The accusations appear to reflect Russia-US tensions as US-backed Syrian forces and the Russian-backed Syrian army race for control of oil and gas-rich areas of eastern Syria.

Syria’s foreign minister accused the US-led coalition of wreaking destruction in Syria while sparing the Islamic State group.

Walid al-Moallem said during a visit to Russia that the US-led coalition has been “methodically destroying all except the IS”.

He claimed Washington aims to destroy Syria’s economy and drag the war out.

Mr al-Moallem said the Kurds are now vying for control of oilfields in eastern Syria and warned that Syria will reassert its sovereignty over the area.

The Syrian army under Russian air cover has raced for control of oilfields in the eastern Deir el-Zour province.

Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov said at the start of his talks with Mr al-Moallem in Sochi that he would like to focus on a political settlement in Syria.