Former US secretary of defense Chuck Hagel says: “The US doesn’t even control half of Syria. You’ve got 2,000 [US] troops up in the northeast corner. I mean, come on, you’re not going to drive Iranians out of Syria with 2,000 American troops,” Hagel said, rejecting US National Security Advisor John Bolton’s call for the removal of Iranian forces from Syria. It’s complete folly to think you’re going to threaten the Syrians or the Russians or the Iranians into anything.”
The number of Russian civilians travelling to Syria, where Moscow is running a military operation in support of President Bashar al-Assad, reached record levels this year, according to official figures published by a Russian security service. The number of Russian civilian trips to Syria grew after President Vladimir Putin announced a partial withdrawal of troops last December, an increase apparently indicating an expansion of Moscow’s activities in the country.
Britain is significantly stepping up efforts to tackle the dirty money funnelled by Russians and other “corrupt elites” into or through the United Kingdom, a senior police officer said on Friday. “We have significantly scaled up the work that we are doing,” said Donald Toon, Director of Prosperity at Britain’s National Crime Agency (NCA). “We are absolutely looking at Russians … but we are not exclusively looking at Russians and Russian assets.”