Russia Says Oil Sites in Northeastern Syria Should Be Controlled by Damascus

Kremlin accuses U.S. of betraying Kurds in Syria, tells them to withdraw or be mauled ■ Statements come after Putin, Erdogan agree to continue Turkish incursion

File photo: Russian President Vladimir Putin listens to Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Istanbul, November 19, 2018.
Mikhail Klimentyev,AP

Oil sites in northeastern Syria, the site of a battle that began earlier this month, should be controlled by Damascus, Russia's Foreign Ministry stated on Wednesday.

Earlier Wednesday, the Kremlin accused the United States of betraying and abandoning the Syrian Kurds, and advised the Kurds to withdraw from the Syrian border as per a deal between Moscow and Ankara or be mauled by the Turkish army.

The comments by Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov to Russian news agencies followed a deal agreed on Tuesday between Russia and Turkey that will see Syrian and Russian forces deploy to northeast Syria to remove Kurdish YPG fighters and their weapons from the border with Turkey.

Peskov, who was reported to be reacting to comments by U.S. President Donald Trump's special envoy for Syria James Jeffrey, complained that it appeared that the United States was encouraging the Kurds to stay close to the Syrian border and fight the Turkish army.

"The United States has been the Kurds' closest ally in recent years. [But] in the end, it abandoned the Kurds and, in essence, betrayed them," Peskov was cited as saying.

"Now [the Americans] prefer to leave the Kurds at the border [with Turkey] and almost force them to fight the Turks."

If the Kurds did not withdraw as per the deal between Moscow and Ankara, Peskov said that Syrian borders guards and Russian military police would have to withdraw, leaving the Kurds to be dealt with by the Turkish army.