On January 31, Russia’s Foreign Minister spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, called on the U.S. to immediately withdraw its troops from the area of al-Tanaf in southeastern Syria.
“We urge Washington to immediately withdraw its troops from al-Tanaf are and transfer control over this territory to the Syrian government, which could take care of its citizens as we see it can do,” the Russian news agency, Sputnik, quoted Zakharova as saying.
The US-led coalition is supposed to withdraw from its base in al-Tanaf as a part of the White House’s decision to pullout all American forces from the war-torn country. However, recent reports said that there are ongoing efforts in Washington to maintain a military presence in the strategic area that controls a vital highway linking Tehran with Damascus.
Beside the base, the US-led coalition is also managing the al-Rukban camp, where tens of thousands of internally displaced civilians are living under poor humanitarian conditions. Zakharova said that Washington is responsible for this situation.
“The full responsibility for the depressing situation in the camp is borne, of course, by the United States, which illegally occupies this zone, and secondly, deploys its military base there, regularly providing material and technical support, while not contributing to the delivery of food and medicine to the residents of Rukban. It is necessary to immediately take measures to resettle the camp,” the spokeswoman said.
Last month, Syrian pro-government activists revealed that Russia had established a military base in the area of Zaza right on the 55km de-escalation zone line around the US-led coalition base in al-Tanaf. The base is reportedly aimed at countering ISIS and pressuring the US-led coalition and its proxies.
Zakharova’s recent statements indicate that Moscow is now willing to step up its pressure on Washington over the unacceptable situation in al-Tanaf.