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U.S. Is Increasing Number Of Mercenaries In Syria: Russian Foreign Ministry

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U.S. Is Increasing Number Of Mercenaries In Syria: Russian Foreign Ministry

U.S. special operations forces are seen in the northern Syrian province of Raqqa on May 25, 2016. Delil Souleiman, AFP

The U.S. has been increasing the number of private military contractors deployed in the northeastern region of Syria, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova revealed during a press briefing on July 17.

“It is reported that the number of private military contractors in Syria exceeds 4,000, and as many as 540 people arrived in the country in the second half of June, including 70 command personnel and instructors … These mercenaries are transported by car in groups of 12 to 16 people,” the spokesperson said.

These private military contractors are reportedly training US-backed forces, protecting oil and gas infrastructure and ensuring security. The U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) is responsible for their deployment and activities.

Zakharova noted that the U.S. had followed a similar tactic in Iraq before and warned that the deployment of private military contractors in Syria is a dangerous violation of international laws.

“These US mercenaries will be present on Syrian soil illegally in violation of all international norms and rules, which is another outrageous fact,” Zakharova said.

Last year, President Donald Trump ordered a full military withdrawal from Syria. However, a backlash from politicians in Washington and the mainstream media forced him to make a U-turn.

Several recent reports suggest that Washington is now actually stepping up its military presence in northeastern Syria through direct and indirect means.

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