Pentagon chief: Russia cannot replace US in Mideast

Russia is no replacement for the United States in the Middle East following Moscow's military intervention in Syria, US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis told a regional security conference on Saturday. Report informs citing the Interfax.
"Russia's presence in the region cannot replace the longstanding, enduring, and transparent US commitment to the Middle East," Mattis told a meeting in the Bahraini capital Manama.
Mattis told the Manama Dialogue that Moscow's "opportunism and willingness to overlook Assad's criminal activities against his own people evidences its lack of sincere commitment to essential moral principles."
Iran's support for the Syrian regime "coupled with Russia's repeated vetoes of UN Security Council Resolutions, is the leading reason Assad remains in power," he said.
We stand with our partners who favour stability over chaos, and we support unity of effort among our nations' militaries in response to shared threats and challenges," Mattis added.