Secretary of the Russian Security Council Alexander Venediktov told Ria Novosti. “The return of peace and stability to Syria is hampered by continued external interference in the Syrian crisis. For example, in the territory controlled by the people’s self-defense units of Kurdistan, some 20 US military bases have been created,” the official said. According to the Russian official, US interference in the Syria conflict “provoked Turkey’s military operation” targeting Kurdish militias in Afrin. DEBKAfile: The 20 US bases in Syria were first reported on Jan. 11. The rerun of the report supports Moscow’s campaign against the US military presence in Syria, which claims that it is illegal, whereas the Russian military was invited by the “legitimate” Assad regime.