RNA - The Arabic-language al-Akhbar newspaper quoted an unnamed source as saying that the US is seeking to establish a military base in joint areas between the positions of Iraqi security forces and the US-led coalition forces in Imam Weiss region in Hamreen, Diyala province, about 50 kilometers Northeast of Baaquba, the provincial capital, near the Iranian-Iraqi border.
The source added that the US has long been seeking to set up the military base to block the Iraqi popular forces (Hashd al-Shaabi) influence in disputed areas such as Jalawla, al-Saadiyeh and al-Miqdadiyeh.
Meantime, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov also warned on Tuesday that the US actions look like attempts to establish quasi-state East of the Euphrates in Syria.
From Russia's point of view, the United States seemed planning to stay in Syria for a long time, maybe even forever, he said.
"Now we hear completely different explanations of our US partners regarding their presence in Syria — they say that this presence should be maintained not only until military tasks are accomplished, but also until there is a stable political process that should end in the transition of power which will be acceptable for all — meaning for the United States — which is a regime change. In general, we have a suspicion…. that the United States wants to stay there for a long time, if not forever," Lavrov told a press conference after the talks with his Belgian counterpart Didier Reynders.
Speaking about the US actions in Syria, Lavrov stated that the US was acting unilaterally, dangerously there, putting the Syrian territorial integrity under a risk.
"The Americans, in my opinion,… are trying to act by dangerous unilateral steps. And by the way, these steps look more and more as part of the line for creating a certain quasi-state on a large part of the Syrian territory — on the Eastern bank of the Euphrates and up to the Iraqi border," Lavrov stated.
As the Minister explained, this "is more and more like a line to undermine the territorial integrity of Syria."
Lavrov expressed hope that the United Nations would ensure transparency of the constitutional process in Syria.
"I hope a lot that the UN, which is responsible for the resolution 2254 implementation, which is responsible for creating an inclusive Syrian dialogue… in its actions will fully take into account the need to stop any steps of external players that lead to undermining the principles of settlement enshrined in the resolution," the Minister stressed.
He went on by saying about the Syrian peace process, noting that Moscow still supported the Kurdish participation in it.
According to Fars News Agancy, he stressed that the US side was short-sighted, ignoring the Turkish position on Kurds.
"We all know how Turkey treats certain units of the Kurdish militia. It is possible to assess this position in different ways, but this position is a reality. Completely ignoring this position is at least short-sighted. The results of such short-sightedness are also observed in the Afrin," Lavrov added.
The armed conflict has been raging in Syria since March 2011. The peace settlement process is being discussed at different venues: of Astana and Geneva, and the Congress of the Syrian National Dialogue, which took place on January 30 this year in Sochi, was the first since the beginning of the conflict to try to gather a wide range of participants on one negotiating platform.