Russia’s Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu slammed the US for occupying Syrian oilfields, calling it a major obstacle to the reconstruction of the country after the conflict.
“The oil fields… are controlled by the US. There’s shameless, impudent pillage of the wealth that belongs to Syria and the Syrian people taking place,” Shoigu said during a visit to the Italian capital Rome.
At the same time, the sanctions imposed by Washington against Damascus ban any oil shipments to Syria, putting the country in a tight spot.
“Most of the people, who are now suffering in Syria, are in need of heat, hot water and electricity, which — as we understand it — come from hydrocarbons that are forbidden to be supplied there,” the minister pointed out.
Washington has occupied oil fields in northeast Syria in October after the retreat of Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) terrorists. It said the move was needed to prevent the terrorists from returning to those areas.
US officials have acknowledged that the oil belongs to the Syrian people. However, Russia has said that the Americans have been smuggling the hydrocarbons to other countries, with the convoys protected by US private security firms.