11:21 GMT +312 November 2019
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    In this photo taken from the Turkish side of the border between Turkey and Syria, in Suruc, southeastern Turkey, a U.S forces outpost is seen on a hilltop outside Ayn Al Arab or Kobani, Syria, Saturday, Oct. 12, 2019.

    Zarif Says at Least Trump is Honest About US Troops Staying in Syria to Protect Oil Fields

    © AP Photo / Emrah Gurel
    Middle East
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    GENEVA (Sputnik) - Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif during a press conference joked about the United States staying in Syria to protect the oil fields there by saying at least US President Donald Trump is honest about the United States’ intentions.

    "Well, it seems that the United States is staying to protect the oil and at least President Trump is honest to say what the United States intends to do", Zarif said on Tuesday.

    Earlier on Monday, US Secretary of Defence Mark Esper said that the US troops will prevent Russian and Syrian forces from occupying oil fields the US is protecting in the north of Syria. Esper has also stated that the US forces on the ground will continue to oppose Daesh* fighters and further pursue its goal to protect oil fields there from the terrorist group.

    The statements come amid the withdrawal of Kurdish forces from the security zone in northern Syria in accordance with the Russia-Turkey memorandum, which has been completed on Tuesday, according to Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu. The document says that Russian military police and Syrian border guards should observe the pullout of Kurdish militants from the 18-mile safe zone on the Syria-Turkish border within 150 hours expiring at 6:00 pm Moscow time (15:00 GMT) on Tuesday, with Ankara and Moscow conducting joint patrols near the safe zone.

    *Daesh (also known as ISIS/ISIL/IS) is a terrorist group banned in Russia

    Sochi, oil fields, Mark Esper, Javad Zarif, Syria, United States
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