Russia lashes back following CIA chief's accusation on Syria

2017-01-04 15:18:22 GMT2017-01-04 23:18:22(Beijing Time) Xinhua English

MOSCOW, Jan. 4 (Xinhua) -- The Russian Defense Ministry said Wednesday that the U.S.-led coalition has caused serious damage in Syria, refuting the head of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)'s accusation that Russia uses a "scorched-earth" policy in the Middle Eastern country.

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

The U.S.-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 Aerospace Forces' operation in the country, said Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov, a spokesman for the Russian Defense Ministry.

He blamed the coalition for the hardships of Syrian civilians that had led to millions of refugees.

Under the bombings by the United States and its coalition, the oil production facilities captured by the Islamic State allowed militants to earn tens of millions of dollars on 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 conflicts in Syria have killed more than 300,000 people and displaced nearly 11 million others.