China slams ‘illegal’ US troops, smuggling of oil, grain in Syria

China has denounced as “illegal” the US stationing of troops in Syria and the smuggling of oil and grain from the war-torn Arab country.

According to Press TV, media reports say the US occupation forces have sent 54 oil-laden tankers from northeastern Syria to their bases in northern Iraq.

Some Syrians reportedly said “what the US troops did leaves them struggling to survive winter,” according to Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian.

“The US stationing of troops in Syria is illegal. The US smuggling of oil and grain from Syria is illegal. The US missile attack against Syria is also illegal,” Zhao told reporters on Friday.

He cited official data from the Syrian government that between 2011 and the first half of 2022, the US smuggling activities have cost Syria more than 100 billion dollars of losses.

Zhao said the United States keeps violating international laws and rules, and yet claims to be a champion of what it calls “the rules-based international order.”

He added that when Washington talks about “rules,” it is often just trying to find a pretext for serving its own interest and perpetuating its hegemony.

The spokesperson quoted the former French ambassador to the United States, Gerard Araud, among others, as saying, “the Americans basically want to do whatever they want, including when it is against international law, as they define it, they do it.”

“We believe the international community is not blind to this and will treat it with vigilance,” Zhao said.

US military trucks and tankers frequently carry tons of grain and crude oil from the northeastern Syrian Province of Hasakah to the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region in northern Iraq as part of Washington’s systematic smuggling of basic commodities out of Syria.

The US military has for long stationed its forces and equipment in northeastern Syria, with the Pentagon claiming that the deployment is aimed at preventing the oilfields in the area from falling into the hands of Daesh terrorists.

Damascus, however, maintains the deployment is meant to plunder the country’s natural resources. Former US President Donald Trump admitted on several occasions that American forces were in the Arab country for its oil wealth.

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