Middle EastPolitics

Russian lawmakers outraged over Coalition plans to build a Syrian border security force

Russia and its partners will take steps in response to the plans of the U.S.-led Coalition against Islamic State to recruit and train a Syrian border security force outside the control of Bashar al-Assad’s government, Russian State Duma’s Defense Committee Chairman Vladimir Shamanov said on Sunday.

A spokesperson for the U.S.-led Coalition told The Defense Post on Saturday that CJTF-OIR is currently training a force to maintain security along the Syrian border as the operation against ISIS shifts focus to stabilization. Colonel Thomas F. Veale said the 30,000-strong Syrian border security force will be partly composed of veteran fighters and operate under the leadership of the Syrian Democratic Forces.

“Undoubtedly, we, along with our colleagues, will take some steps to stabilize the situation in Syria,” Shamanov said commenting on the news, as quoted by RIA Novosti.

Konstantin Kosachev, Chairman of the foreign affairs committee of the Federation Council, the upper house of the Russian parliament, said that the Coalition efforts violate the United Nations Charter and international law.

Kosachev called the Coalition “a chimera,” arguing that it does not exist.

“There are only unilateral actions by the United States, supported by a number of countries, either for reasons of solidarity, or because of the obligations that arise [when a nation] gets military or financial aid,” he added.

Russian State Duma’s Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Leonid Slutsky argued that plans to build a border force indicate the U.S. desire for regime change in Syria.

“The question arises: what is the purpose of creating a new coalition force? Not to mention that the continuation of Western military forces’ stay in Syria violates its sovereignty, this can prove that the real goal of the U.S. is to change the regime at any cost, and not the continuation of the fight against international terrorism,” he said.

Meanwhile, Russian Senator Alexey Pushkov suggested that “the U.S. attempt” to create a security force in northern Syria is “the way to prepare for the actual dismemberment of the country.”

Franz Klintsevich, the first deputy chairman of the Federation Council’s Committee for Defense and Security, said the U.S. is looking for a reason not to leave Syria.

“This is yet another confirmation that the U.S. is not going to leave Syria,” he said.

“You can think of a thousand reasons, and one of them is the creation of the so-called security force. In any case, the meaning remains the same: the U.S. is ready to create a bloc with anyone ready to oppose Russia.”

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