Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has warned of a possible plan by the United States to continue its military presence in Syria for a long term in an attempt to create a “quasi-state” in the eastern areas of the country.
Speaking at a press conference Tuesday، Lavrov criticized the US for its “completely different” position with regard to its future military presence in Syria، adding، “We have a suspicion…. that the United States wants to stay there for a long time، if not forever."
"The Americans، in my opinion … are trying to act by dangerous unilateral steps. And by the way، these steps look more and more like part of a line for creating a certain quasi-state on a large part of the Syrian territory — on the eastern bank of the Euphrates and up to the Iraqi border،" he added.
Moscow and Washington support opposing sides in the Syrian conflict. Russia assists the Syrian government and has been carrying out an aerial bombardment campaign against terrorist positions in Syria.
The US-led coalition has been conducting airstrikes against what are said to be ISIS targets inside Syria since September 2014 without any authorization from the Damascus government or a UN mandate.
The military alliance has repeatedly been accused of targeting and killing civilians. It has also been largely incapable of achieving its declared goal of destroying ISIS.