Russia hits back following CIA chief’s accusation on Syria

Moscow, Jan 4 (IANS) The Russian Defence Ministry said on Wednesday that the US-led coalition has caused serious damage in Syria, refuting the head of the Central Intelligence Agency’s accusation that Moscow uses a “scorched-earth” policy in the Middle Eastern country.

CIA Director John Brennan said on Tuesday that Russia was pursuing scorched-earth tactics that have led to devastation and the deaths of thousands upon thousands of innocent people.

The US-led international coalition has since 2012 systematically and consistently destroyed all economic infrastructure in Syria to weaken its legitimate government, long before the start of the Russian forces’ operation in the country, said Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov, a spokesman for the Russian Defence Ministry.

He blamed the coalition for the hardships being suffered by Syrian civilians that had created millions of refugees.

The oil production facilities captured by the Islamic State allowed the militants to earn tens of millions of dollars in illegal oil sales every month and recruit mercenaries from all over the world, the spokesman added.

“Sooner or later, for all this, (the United States and the coalition) will have to answer,” Konashenkov said.

Last Saturday, the UN Security Council unanimously adopted a resolution supporting a Syria ceasefire arrangement brokered by Russia and Turkey, as well as a new peace talks plan among Syrian conflict parties.

The nationwide ceasefire in Syria, agreed upon by the Syrian government and major opposition groups, came into force at midnight local time last Thursday, as the latest attempt to end nearly six years of civil war.

The chronic conflict in Syria has killed more than 300,000 people and displaced nearly 11 million others.

–IANS

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