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US must withdraw forces from Syria unconditionally, Iran tells UNSC

The US is plundering the Syrian nation’s wealth and oil resources while supporting terrorist groups in the Arab country, a senior Iranian diplomat told the UN Security Council, calling for the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of American troops from Syria.

Majid Takht-Ravanchi, Iran’s permanent ambassador to the United Nations, told a Security Council meeting on Syria that the full, immediate and unconditional withdrawal of the US forces from Syria is essential.

Instead of combatting terrorism, he said, American forces “continue supporting UN-designated terrorist groups such as al-Nusrah Front (Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham) as well as looting the oil and wealth of the Syrian people.”

“All foreign forces whose presence is not permitted by the Syrian government must leave Syria,” Takht-Ravanchi told the meeting.

The US, in collusion with the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a US-backed alliance of Kurdish militants operating against Damascus, controls most of the oil fields in Syria’s oil-rich eastern regions.

Over the past months, thousands of trucks carrying weapons and military and logistical equipment have entered the region.

The Pentagon alleges that the move aims to “protect” the fields and facilities from possible attacks by Daesh terrorist group, but President Donald Trump has said Washington sought economic interests in controlling the oil fields.

The presence of US forces in eastern Syria has particularly irked civilians, and local residents have on several occasions stopped American military convoys entering the region. 

Since October 2019, the United States has been redeploying troops to the oil fields controlled by Kurdish forces in eastern Syria, in a reversal of Trump’s earlier order to withdraw all troops from the Arab country. 

In his Wednesday speech, the Iranian ambassador also strongly condemned Israel’s continued aggressions against Syria’s sovereignty.

“The occupation of the Syrian Golan by Israel is unlawful and the recognition of its annexation to Israel by the US is null and void,” Takht-Ravanchi said.

He also pointed to the recent “provocative” visit of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to the Syrian Golan, and said the visit was “designed to legitimize the annexation.”

“Golan is and will remain a part and parcel of the Syrian territory,” the Iranian ambassador said.

Last Thursday, Pompeo paid a rare and controversial visit to a settlement project in the occupied West Bank, located near the city of Bireh, north of Jerusalem al-Quds.

Pompeo became the first top American diplomat to visit an Israeli settlement.

Emboldened by US President Donald Trump’s all-out support, Israel has stepped up its settlement construction activities in recent years.

Late last month, Michael Lynk, the UN special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, called on the international community to take action as the occupying regime records the highest number of annual settlement approvals.

“As the Israeli settlements continue to devour the land that is meant for the independent Palestinian state, the international community observes, it sometimes objects, but it does not act,” he said. “It is high time for accountability.”

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