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US forces kidnap several civilians in Syria’s oil-rich Dayr al-Zawr

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
A US Apache attack helicopter flies over a field near in the town of Tal Haddad in the countryside of Syria's northeastern Hasakah province, on September 15, 2020. (Photo by AFP)

US occupation forces have kidnapped several civilians in Syria's oil-rich eastern province of Dayr al-Zawr in a joint operation with Kurdish-led militants of the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

Syria’s official news agency SANA, quoting local sources, reported that the SDF militants, which enjoy Washington’s support, abducted three citizens from the same family in Dayr al-Zawr countryside early on Sunday.

The US helicopters carried out an airdrop and kidnapped the civilians in al-Kitif neighborhood in the town of al-Shuhail as the SDF militants surrounded the area.

The US-backed militants also raided homes across different neighborhoods.

In recent months, Dayr al-Zawr countryside has witnessed popular demonstrations calling for the expulsion of US forces and their mercenaries.  

The US-backed SDF have frequently kidnapped young people in Syria’s northeastern provinces apparently for forced recruitment as they continue their criminal and abusive practice against ordinary citizens in areas under their control. 

The security situation is reportedly deteriorating in the areas controlled by the SDF in Hasakah and the province of Dayr al-Zawr amid arrests of civilians by the militants. 

Washington has long been providing the SDF with arms and militants, saying they are a key partner in the purported fight against the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group.  

Many observers, however, see the support in the context of Washington’s plans to carve out a foothold in Syria. 

Such support has also angered Turkey, which views militants of the People’s Protection Units (YPG), the backbone of the SDF, as a terrorist organization tied to the homegrown Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

A US-led military coalition has been bombarding what it claimed Daesh positions inside Syria since September 2014 without any authorization from the Damascus government or a UN mandate.

The US strikes have on many occasions resulted in civilian casualties and failed to fulfill their declared aim of countering terrorism. The Syrian government has repeatedly condemned the airstrikes, stressing that they have not been authorized by the Syrian government or the UN Security Council.

Syria in late July strongly condemned an agreement signed between the SDF militant group and an American oil company aimed at stealing Syria’s oil, stressing that Damascus considers the contract null and void with no legal effect.

The American troops are specifically stationed near oil and gas fields, in particular al-Omar oilfield — Syria’s largest — on the eastern bank of the Euphrates, the Conoco gas field and plant as well as the al-Jazrat area in the western countryside of Dayr al-Zawr.

The US army had also deployed groups of allied militants with the SDF at a number of points around the base in order to protect the site.

US President Donald Trump has openly said on several occasions that the American military presence in Syria was “only for the oil,” contradicting his own officials who have said the remaining forces were there to “fight terrorism.”

The practice of seizing or taking advantage of oil resources in a foreign country, without the consent of the sovereign authority, amounts to a violation of international law.

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