Recently released satellite images by the Russian Defense Ministry show tank trucks guarded by US military servicemen and private military companies were busy in smuggling oil from fields in the eastern part of Syria to other countries. It suggests that Washington is looting Syrian oil and transporting it to outside Syrian territories under American military guard. The revenues of the US government from the theft were estimated more than US$30 million per month.
Washington is capturing and holding oil fields under its control in the eastern part of Syria. This is a clear international state-sponsored gangsterism, say Russians. These resources inside the Syrian territories belong to the Syrian Arab Republic. They neither belong to Daesh nor to the American protectors. The cost of one barrel of oil smuggled from Syria estimated at US$38 generates monthly revenue for the private business exceeds US$30 million.
While US President Donald Trump has ordered a partial withdrawal of the approximately 1,000 US troops from Syrian territory, who have been enforcing an illegal military occupation under international law. The US President himself and US officials have admitted that some will be staying in Syrian. They will remain on Syrian soil not to ensure the safety of any group of people, but rather to maintain control over oil and gas fields. Donald said openly, “We want to keep the oil.”
The US military has already killed hundreds of Syrians, and possibly even some Russians, precisely in order to hold on to these Syrian fossil fuel reserves. Washington’s obsession with toppling the Syrian government refuses to die. The US remains committed to preventing Damascus from retaking its own oil, as well as its wheat-producing breadbasket region, in order to starve the government of revenue and prevent it from funding reconstruction efforts.
It is for the first time, Trump has openly confirmed the imperialist ulterior motives behind maintaining a US military presence in Syria. “We want to keep the oil,” Trump confessed in a cabinet meeting on October 21. “Maybe we’ll have one of our big oil companies to go in and do it properly.”
Few days earlier, the president had tweeted, “The US has secured the Oil.” “President Trump is leaning in favor of a new Pentagon plan to keep a small contingent of American troops in eastern Syria, perhaps numbering about 200, to combat the Islamic State and block the advance of Syrian government and Russian forces into the region’s coveted oil fields.
“We secured the oil (in Syria), and therefore a small number of US troops will remain in the area where they have the oil,” Trump said. “And we’re going to be protecting it. And we’ll be deciding what we’re going to do with it in the future.”
“We have troops in towns in northeast Syria that are located next to the oil fields. The troops in those towns are not in the present phase of withdrawal. Our forces will remain in the towns that are located near the oil fields.
Unlike Trump, others offer an excuse to justify the continued US military occupation of Syria’s oil fields. He insisted that American soldiers remain to help the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) hold on to the resources and prevent ISIS jihadists from taking them over.
But any observer who carefully witnessed the press confirmation during his press conference would have been able to detect the real goal behind the prolonged US presence in northeastern Syria. It seems the purpose of those troops, working with the SDF, is to deny access to those oil fields by ISIS and others who may benefit from revenues that could be earned.
It is clear that the US strategy is to prevent Syria’s UN-recognized government and the Syrian majority that lives under its control from retaking their own oil fields and reaping the benefits of their revenue. US military massacred hundreds to keep control of Syrian oil fields. This is not just speculation. CNN made it plain when reported the following in an undeniably blunt passage, citing anonymous US senior military officials:
The oil fields are assets that have also been long sought after by Russia and the Assad regime, which is strapped for cash after years of civil war. Both Moscow and Damascus hope to use oil revenues to help rebuild western Syria and solidify the regime’s hold. CNN acknowledged that the US military had killed up to “hundreds” of Syrian and Russia-backed fighters seeking to gain access to Syria’s oil fields. It massacred these fighters not for humanitarian reasons, but to prevent the Syrian government from using “oil revenues to help rebuild western Syria.”
This shockingly direct admission flew in the face of the popular myth that the US was keeping troops in Syria to protect Kurds from an assault by NATO member Turkey. The CNN report was an apparent reference to the Battle of Khasham, a little known but important episode in the eight-year international proxy war in Syria.
The battle unfolded on February 7, 2018, when the Syrian military and its allies launched an attack to try to retake major oil and gas reserves in Syria’s Deir ez-Zour governorate, which were being occupied by American troops and their Kurdish proxies. The US has aimed to prevent Damascus from retaking profitable territory, starving it of natural resources from fossil fuels to basic foodstuffs.
In 2015, the then President Barack Obama deployed US troops to northeastern Syria on the grounds of helping the Kurdish militia the People’s Protection Units (YPG) fight ISIS. What started as several dozen US special operations forces quickly ballooned into some 2,000 troops, largely stationed in northeastern Syria.
While Trump has pledged to bring US soldiers home and end their military occupation of Syrian territory, it is evident that the broader regime change war continues. A brutal economic war on Damascus is escalating, not only through sanctions but through the theft of Syria’s natural treasures by foreign powers.