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US military deploys more troops, armored vehicles to oil-rich eastern Syria

A US military convoy makes a stop in the western countryside of the northeastern Syrian town of al-Malikiyah, as it patrols Kurdish towns near the border with Turkey, on June 7, 2020. (Photo by AFP)

The US military has sent a new convoy of military vehicles and troops to oil-rich eastern Syria amid rising tensions with Russian forces in the region, and as Washington seeks to loot crude resources in the war-torn country.

Captain Bill Urban, spokesman for the US Central Command (CENTCOM), said in a statement on Friday that the United States “has deployed Sentinel radar, increased the frequency of US fighter patrols over US forces, and deployed Bradley Fighting Vehicles to augment US forces” in the area.

Without mentioning Russia, Urban added that the moves were meant “to help ensure the safety and security” of the US-led military coalition purportedly formed to fight the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group.

He asserted that the US “does not seek conflict with any other nation in Syria, but will defend coalition forces if necessary.”

A US official, speaking on condition of anonymity, also said six Bradley Fighting Vehicles arrived in Syria early on Friday from Kuwait, and that their deployment along with the forces manning the radar equipment will add an additional 100 personnel to the 500 American forces operating in eastern Syria.

The official went on to say that the actions are “a clear signal to Russia and other parties” to avoid what he termed as “unprofessional, unsafe and provocative actions in northeast Syria.”

Senior US officials have on occasions complained about Washington’s policies in Syria, arguing that the approaches of President Donald Trump’s administration have stuck American troops fighting a 'forgotten war' and guarding oil and gas resources there, while Russian troops are making advances and help the Damascus government recover after nearly a decade of militancy.

“It's a clusterf**k in Syria,” one top US intelligence official, who requested anonymity, told American weekly news magazine Newsweek earlier this month. “We don't have a strategy.”

Malcolm Nance, a former US Navy intelligence and counter-terrorism specialist, also compared the situation to another bloody quagmire for the Pentagon, and said the presence of US troops on the Syrian soil is a political game with little payoff.

“A few special forces supported by artillery and armor units are very much akin to 2002 in Afghanistan. It is now a forgotten war,” Nance said.

Moreover, Russian and Syrian joint coordination committees on the repatriation of Syrian refugees have denounced the presence of US troops on the Syrian soil, stating that such an illegal military deployment stokes new tensions in the Middle East.

The committees, in a statement released on September 3, cited the unlawful presence of US forces and militants affiliated with the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) as one of the serious matters of concern in northeastern Syria, Syria’s official news agency SANA reported at the time.

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