Russia, citing satellite imagery, says the United States has been smuggling Syrian oil to other countries under the protection of its troops before and after the defeat of the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group in the region.

Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov said on Saturday that “the space intelligence images showed that oil was actively extracted and massively exported for processing outside Syria, under the reliable protection of US troops, before and after the defeat of the Daesh terrorists.”

Konashenkov stressed that the convoys were guarded by US private military companies and special operations forces.

“Tank trucks guarded by US military servicemen and private military companies smuggle oil from fields in eastern Syria to other countries and in the event of any attack on such a convoy, US special operations forces and combat aviation are immediately used to protect it,” Konashenkov said.

The Russian defense ministry spokesman added that the Syrian oil was extracted with the use of the equipment supplied by leading Western corporations bypassing all US sanctions.

Given that the cost of one barrel of oil smuggled from Syria is $38, the monthly revenue of that “private business” exceeds $30 million, Russia’s TASS news agency quoted Konashenkov as saying.

“Revenues from smuggling Syrian oil arrive at numbered bank accounts of US private military companies and intelligence services through brokerage firms that interact with it,” Konashenkov said. “To secure such a continuous financial flow free from control and taxes, the top officials at the Pentagon and Langley will be willing to guard and protect oil wells in Syria from the imaginary ‘hidden cells’ of Daesh indefinitely.”