MOSCOW (Sputnik) — The Russian Defense Ministry has pointed out confusion between US President Donald Trump's statements about the victory over the Daesh terrorist group in Syria and the Pentagon's desire to stay there until victory over terrorism.
"The Pentagon consciously deceives the international and American public, including the US Commander-in-Chief [US President Donald Trump], or there are no more grounds or even formal pretexts for the presence of American troops in Syria," the Defense Ministry's spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said.
On Tuesday, Donald Trump announced victory over Daesh in Syria and Iraq, noting that militants had "spread to other areas" and that the US is "getting them as fast as they spread".
However, the US military has nevertheless repeatedly stated that the country would retain its military presence in Syria as long as it is necessary, to ensure that Daesh militants won't return.
"If arrivals of Russian aircraft, military medics, engineers, military police units, and military hardware at Russian airfields and ports from Syria is not broadcast by American television, it is the problem of Pentagon. The Pentagon’s leadership can solve it by turning on Russian or European channels," he said.
On Monday, during his visit to the Hmeimim airbase in Latakia, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the withdrawal of Russian troops from Syria to their permanent bases following a two-year anti-terrorist aerial campaign which Russia conducted in the country at the behest of its government, stressing that they are "returning home with victory."
However, the Pentagon voiced skepticism about Putin's announcement, with its spokesman Adrian Rankine-Galloway saying that "Russian comments about the removal of their forces do not often correspond with actual troop reductions."
In addition, Defense Department spokesperson Eric Pahon told Sputnik on Monday that the Russian troops' withdrawal from Syria did not affect US priorities in the country.
The US-led coalition has been conducting airstrikes against Daesh in Syria and Iraq since 2014. According to the Defense Manpower Data Center's recent quarterly report, there were 1,720 US troops in Syria, three times as many as previously reported.