Russia's Ministry of Defense Wednesday accused the U.S. of escalating the situation in Syria to justify its presence in the country. "The U.S. and its allies are indifferent to the fate of ordinary Syrians. The Americans need hotbeds of tension in Syria only to justify their illegal presence on the territory of a sovereign state and to satisfy their geopolitical ambitions by any means," Mikhail Mizintsev, head of Russia's National Defense Management Center, told reporters in Moscow.
Mizintsev slammed the U.S. actions in Syria, saying that only complete withdrawal of the U.S. troops will help stabilize the situation in the country.
"The U.S. presence only exacerbates the criminal situation and prevents the restoration of peaceful life in the country," he added. Mizintsev said the U.S. liberation of Raqqa resulted in total destruction of the once-prosperous city. President Donald Trump announced last December that the U.S. would withdraw its troops from Syria, noting that the only reason U.S. troops were in Syria was to defeat Daesh, which he said was accomplished. He later added that "local countries," including Turkey, should "take care" of the situation and deal with the remaining terrorist threats. However, since then, no major steps have been taken on the issue. The U.S. currently has more than 2,000 troops in Syria.