Syria condemns US troops deployment as blatant aggression
Syria has strongly criticized the United States for the deployment of a contingent of troops on its soil, saying the move amounts to aggression against national sovereignty.
A Syrian Foreign Ministry official on Thursday called the reported deployment of 150 US troops to Rumeilan airport east of Syria as “an unacceptable and illegal intervention” which came without authorization from the Syrian government.
“We received with great concern the reports about the entry of 150 American soldiers to the Syrian territory of Rumeilan,” said the official, adding, “The Syrian Arab Republic strongly condemns this blatant aggression, which represents a flagrant violation of Syrian sovereignty.”
The official said the deployment clearly violated the territorial integrity of Syria and ran contrary to internationally recognized norms and conventions. He called for governments and responsible bodies to take action against the US move.
In its biggest expansion of ground forces in Syria since the beginning of the conflict in the country in 2011, US President Barack Obama announced Tuesday that 250 special troops will be sent to Syria in the coming weeks.
Russian media revealed Wednesday that a first batch of US army personnel, including 150 soldiers and officers, arrived safely to the Kurdish controlled Rumeilan Military Airport in the eastern Syrian province of Hasakah.
“Some have been flown by helicopters to Rumeilan airfield, and some arrived across the border with Iraq. There are instructors and intelligence personnel among them,” a Kurdish security source told Sputnik News.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Thursday that Moscow is seeking detailed information about the new US plan, including the precise purpose of the deployment.
“We would like to comprehend what this is all about; whether this is a one-time action, who these people are and where they will be stationed,” Zakharova said.
Washington has already deployed dozens of special forces to eastern Syria in what it claims is an effort to shore up local militant groups against Daesh terrorists.
Syria has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy since March 2011. UN special envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura estimates that over 400,000 people have been killed in the conflict, which has furthermore displaced over half of Syria’s pre-war population of about 23 million.