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US military forces smuggle wheat crops from Syria’s Hasakah into Iraq: SANA

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)
In this file picture, a convoy of US military vehicles is seen after withdrawing from northern Syria, on the outskirts of Dukoh city in the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region of northern Iraq. (Photo by Reuters)

A convoy of over a dozen US military trucks has left Syria’s northeastern province of Hasakah for the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region in northern Iraq, smuggling tens of tons of grain.

Syria’s official news agency SANA, citing local sources in the town of al-Malikiyah, reported that 18 military vehicles loaded with wheat crops rumbled through Semalka border crossing on Thursday, and headed toward the Iraqi territory.

It came only two days after the US military used hundreds of tanker trucks to smuggle crude oil from the Jazira region in Syria’s Hasakah province to western Iraq.

Local sources in the town of al-Swaidah told SANA that a convoy of 300 tankers filled with crude oil entered the Iraqi territory after passing through al-Mahmoudiya border crossing on Tuesday.

Syrian Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, Bassam Tomeh, told state-run and Arabic-language al-Ikhbariyah Syria television news network on March 18 that the US and its allied Takfiri terrorist groups are looting oil reserves in the war-stricken Arab country, revealing that Washington controls 90 percent of crude reserves in oil-rich northeastern Syria.

“Americans and their allies are targeting the Syrian oil wealth and its tankers just like pirates,” the Syrian oil minister said.

He noted that the cost of direct and indirect damage to the Syrian oil sector stands at more than $92 billion.

The US military has stationed forces and equipment in northeastern Syria, with the Pentagon claiming that the troops deployment are aimed at preventing the oilfields in the area from falling into the hands of the Daesh terrorists. Damascus, however, says the deployment is meant to plunder the country's resources. 

The US first confirmed its looting of Syrian oil during a Senate hearing exchange between South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham and former US secretary of state Mike Pompeo in late July last year.

On July 30 and during his testimony to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Pompeo confirmed for the first time that an American oil company would begin work in northeastern Syria, which is controlled by militants from the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

The Syrian government strongly condemned the agreement, saying that the deal was struck to plunder the country's natural resources, including oil and gas, under the sponsorship and support of the administration of then-US president Donald Trump.

US-backed SDF forces, Turkish-backed militants clash in Hasakah

US-sponsored militants affiliated with the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have engaged in clashes with Turkish-backed militants from the so-called Free Syrian Army (FSA).

Informed sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the skirmishes occurred on the outskirts of Tal Tamr town on Thursday.

Last week, Turkish-backed militants launched an offensive against Saida village in Syria’s northern province of Raqqah, triggering a fierce exchange of gunfire with the SDF rivals.

Local sources said at the time that three militants were killed.

The SDF forces also destroyed a military vehicle during an infiltration attempt by the Turkish-backed terrorists.

The Turkish government has been supporting the Takfiri militants since they were deployed to northeastern Syria in October 2019, when the Turkish military launched a cross-border invasion in a declared attempt to push militants of the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) away from border areas. 

Ankara views the US-backed YPG as a terrorist organization tied to the homegrown Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which has been seeking an autonomous Kurdish region in Turkey since 1984.

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