Military

After Imprudent Pullout, U.S. Reportedly Recaptures Syrian Oil-Rich Province

Fuad Muxtarlı Media Roundup 7 November 2019
 After Imprudent Pullout, U.S. Reportedly Recaptures Syrian Oil-Rich Province

The United States is planning two new military bases in Syria's oil-rich Deir ez-Zor province, Turkish media reports. They are currently under construction, after US special forces convoys were seen patrolling the area in the past days.

Specifically the images are of a US armed convoy at Rumelan oil field, and are the first to show Trump's ordered "secure the oil" policy in action. A Salon op-ed aptly quips in reaction: "It’s about the oil, stupid: Trump wants to end the forever wars, except the one about oil and money."

Middle East war correspondent Jenan Moussa, who has covered the Iraq war and other US occupations in the region, voiced the growing outrage over the U.S. resource theft underway in Syria.

Since discovery of oil in the Mideast, many in the region said: the U.S. is only here to steal our oil. U.S. denied it, and claimed it's about democracy, human rights, women etc. Not sure if Americans realize but these pictures of U.S. troops in northeast Syria are HUGELY damaging to U.S. image.

One Syrian commentator said sarcastically on social media: The Few. The Proud. The Marines. Stealing Syria’s oil. And further pointed out that, "Trump just showed you the naked truth about US foreign policy in the Middle East."

A U.S. coalition statement earlier this week confirmed American forces are being "repositioned" in Syria's oil rich region just east of the Euphrates to "protect critical infrastructure". Mechanized units have been observed going into the area, however, no tanks have as yet been seen.

U.S. new military bases in Syria's oil-rich area

The U.S. has started construction of two new military bases in Syria's oil-rich Deir ez-Zor governorate. The military bases are being built in the 113th Brigade area and near al-Sur region, according to local sources.

While the footage captured by Anadolu Agency showed that many construction equipment are put into action, it was learnt the U.S. has sent 250 to 300 additional soldiers, armored vehicles, heavy weapons and ammunitions to the region.

After a pause in Turkey's anti-terror operation in northern Syria, U.S. troops on Friday resumed military patrols around oil reservoirs in north-eastern Syria.

Turkey on October 9 launched Operation Peace Spring to eliminate YPG/PKK terrorists from northern Syria east of the Euphrates River in order to secure Turkey’s borders, aid in the safe return of Syrian refugees, and ensure Syria’s territorial integrity.

On October 22, Turkey reached an agreement with Russia to force YPG/PKK terrorists to withdraw from the planned terror-free zone with their weapons.

The coalition statement said that “mechanized forces” providing “infantry, manoeuvrability and firepower” are further en route to bolster forces currently redeploying in the region, and in support of Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces.

Syria's largest oil fields, which historically account for most of its domestic energy needs, are located in Deir Ezzor, including Al-Omar, Conoco, and Rumeilan.

A U.S. coalition statement confirmed last week that American forces are being "repositioned" in Syria's oil rich region just east of the Euphrates to "protect critical infrastructure" - following Trump's roll out of his controversial "secure the oil" plan.

Days ago Russia accused the U.S. of stealing what rightfully belongs to the Syrian government and people, with Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov alleging earlier that U.S. government agencies received over $30 million a month in oil production in Syria.

“The U.S. military is preparing to build bases in the Soor area. There are a large amount of construction equipment in these lands, and 250-300 additional military personnel have been deployed in this area, as well as armored personnel carriers, heavy weapons and ammunition,” the Sputnik News Agency reported, citing local sources.

Despite the announcement from U.S. President Donald Trump about the withdrawal of American troops from northern Syria, he stressed that some of them will remain in Syria in order to “protect” the oil fields. U.S. forces control the most important oil and gas fields in eastern Syria, and the U.S. Department of Defense confirmed earlier that it planned to strengthen its military presence in north-eastern Syria in order to prevent terrorists from gaining access to the oil fields, pointing out that Washington is studying how to transfer troops in this region to strengthen oil protection.

There are several large oil fields in the province of Deir Al-Zour, including Al-Umar, Conoco, and Rmeilan. These sites are the largest oil fields in Syria.

Syria’s oil production, according to statistics of the Syrian government before the outbreak of the crisis, was approximately 30,000 barrels per day.

Russian envoy to Syria Alexander Lavrentev said earlier that the oil production areas in eastern Syria should be controlled by the Syrian government. Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said earlier that U.S. government agencies receive more than $30 million a month in oil production in Syria.

In response to Tuesday's Turkish media reports on the establishment of two new American military bases east of the Euphrates, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Vershinin said, "Any actions whatsoever – we are not talking about anything in particular now – that the United States undertake to keep themselves militarily present in Syria are unacceptable and illegal from our point of view and under international law."

We're Just Patrolling Around, U.S. Troops

More footage has emerged of U.S. special forces occupying Syria's oil fields in the country's northeast, after Trump's "secure the oil" policy went into effect this weekend.

"We are just patrolling around," one American soldier told a regional media outlet outside an oil station under control of joint U.S.-Kurdish forces in a rare interview from the ground. It underscores that in the absence of detailed orders other than to take oil fields in the Deir Ezzor and Hasakah regions, there's continued confusion over just what exactly the overall objectives are, or even who is the enemy.

"U.S. military commanders overseeing Syria operations are still waiting for precise battlefield orders from the White House and Pentagon on their exact mission to protect oilfields in eastern Syria, according to a defense official directly familiar with the matter," CNN reported over the weekend.

Crucially, it's as yet unclear what the Pentagon response would be should Russia or Syrian national forces approach the oil fields which Damascus sees as part of its sovereign territory.

"Privately, military officials say there is nothing in place to address the possibility that Syrian or Russian tanks or aircraft might approach the oil fields," CNN continued. "The plan for now, officials say, is to declare the U.S. presence and warn other players not to get close."

Multiple images have surfaced in the past days confirming that the Pentagon has indeed launched a "secure the oil" policy, though not every of Syria's oil and gas fields east of the Euphrates have witnessed U.S. forces enter.

Multiple images surfaced in the past days confirming that Trump's controversial "secure the oil" policy is now in effect, though not every of Syria's oil and gas fields east of the Euphrates have witnessed U.S. forces enter.

Indeed it does appear the plan for now is simply for U.S. forces to just "patrol around" while the world looks on at what most will recognize plainly as another Washington Middle East adventure ending dubiously in a big oil grab.

Ве noted earlier that now years after the utter disaster that was Bush's 2003 invasion and occupation of oil-rich Iraq, outrage across the Arab world is building at yet more blatant American resource imperialism.

Middle East war correspondent Jenan Moussa, who has covered the Iraq war and other U.S. occupations in the region, voiced the growing outrage over the U.S. resource theft underway in Syria as follows:

Since discovery of oil in the Mideast, many in the region said: the U.S. is only here to steal our oil. U.S. denied it, and claimed it's about democracy, human rights, women etc.

This is clearly the case, yet there's more to the story as retired Army Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson argued in an interview with MSNBC last week. The former chief of staff for Secretary of State Colin Powell under the Bush administration said the oil protection rationale is a “manufactured reason”.

“The real reason the Pentagon talked the president into not continuing with his withdrawal and leaving his U.S. forces there is they are positioned to try and keep Iran from gaining any real foothold, vis-à-vis Israel in particular, in Syria and they’re also positioned to keep Syrian President Assad honest with regard to his deal for autonomy for the Kurds whom we have sort of abandoned,” Col. Wilkerson explained.

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