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Moscow: US Deploying Hardware to Al-Tanf, Boosting Military Presence in Syria

© AFP 2023 / AHMAD AL-RUBAYESome 150 US Troops Arrive in Northeastern Syria - Kurdish Security Source
Some 150 US Troops Arrive in Northeastern Syria - Kurdish Security Source - Sputnik International
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has commented on the situation in Eastern Ghouta and the US military presence in Syria.

Moscow is concerned by Washington's plans to fortify its military presence in Syria at the US military base in al-Tanf, as heavy military equipment is arriving, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said at a briefing.

"We are still concerned about reports that the United States and its allies are consolidating their illegal military presence in the territory of sovereign Syria. In particular, heavy military equipment is arriving to the zone established by the United States around the settlements of al-Tanf in the southeast of the country," Zakharova told a briefing.

READ MORE: Russian General Staff Calls US Explanations on At-Tanf Base 'Unintelligible'

The US military base is located in the border town of al-Tanf, where troops of the armed Syrian opposition are trained and equipped. The Al-Rukban refugee camp is located in the "security zone" next to the US military base al-Tanf; it was illegally deployed in April 2017 under the pretext of fighting terrorists.

A picture taken on March 11, 2018 shows Syrian government forces outside of the town of Jisreen in the southern tip of the rebel-held Eastern Ghouta enclave as they advance in the area - Sputnik International
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At the end of November last year, the head of the Russian Center for the reconciliation of the warring parties in Syria, Lieutenant-General Sergei Kuralenko, reported that the US, having closed the 55-kilometer zone around the US base in the Syrian city of al-Tanf, had isolated more than 50,000 people in need of humanitarian assistance. Russia then proposed to the command of a group of US troops in al-Tanf to jointly ensure the delivery of humanitarian assistance to the refugees. The coalition, led by the United States, agreed to help, but said that it had not received confirmation that Syrian authorities were ready to allow convoys to pass.

Operation in East Ghouta

Maria Zakharova said that the counterterrorism operation in the Syrian East Ghouta is coming to an end.

"The counterterrorism operation in East Ghouta is over, only the city of Douma remains under the control of militants," Zakharova said at a briefing in Moscow on Thursday.

A significant part of the civilian population was able to leave the city via humanitarian corridors organized with the assistance of the Russian military, she added.

READ MORE: Syrian Army Reportedly Finds Israeli-Made Landmines, Grenades in East Ghouta

"Negotiations are underway on the possibility of a peaceful transfer of control over the city to Syrian government forces," Zakharova added.

"Continuing fabricated and groundless accusations against the Syrian government and Russia with regard to the indiscriminate use of force in the alleged killing of civilians, pure fiction and other lies that are allegedly imbued with concern for the fate of the civilian population, in fact create obstacles for reaching negotiated solutions and saving lives," Zakharova said.

The situation in Eastern Ghouta has been tense over the past months, resulting in the ongoing shelling by militants of Damascus and fire from the Syrian government forces. Syrian authorities said they opened fire in response to shelling from Eastern Ghouta, but Western countries are blaming the Syrian government and Russia for being responsible for the intensification of tensions in the area.

On February 24, the UN Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 2401 that urges all parties to the conflict in Syria to immediately stop fighting and adhere to a humanitarian pause for at least 30 days across Syria.

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