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US military forces smuggle new batches of wheat crops from northeast Syria to Iraq: Report

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, an American military convoy stops near the town of Tel Tamr in the western part of Hasakah province, northeastern Syria. (Photo by AP)

Amid reports that the US military is systematically smuggling basic commodities out of Syria, a convoy of nearly three dozen US military trucks has carried tons of grain from the country’s northeastern province of Hasakah to the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region in northern Iraq.

Local sources, requesting anonymity, told Syria’s official news agency SANA that 35 military vehicles loaded with wheat crops from silos of Tal Alou village in al-Ya'rubiyah region entered the Iraqi territories on Wednesday after crossing al-Waleed border crossing.

The sources added that militants affiliated with the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) escorted the convoy until it arrived at the crossing.

The development took place only a few days after 10 US military vehicles rumbled through al-Waleed border crossing and headed towards northern Iraq. They were carrying wheat crops from silos of Tal Alou village.

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

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 first confirmed its exploitation 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.

Pompeo confirmed for the first time that an American oil company would begin work in northeastern Syria, which is controlled by SDF militants.

After failing to oust the Syrian government through proxies and direct involvement in the conflict, the US government has stepped up its economic war on the Arab country. 

Last June, the US enacted the so-called Caesar Act that imposed the toughest sanctions ever on Syria with the alleged aim of choking off revenue for the government. 

The sanctions, however, have crippled the war-torn country’s economy by prohibiting foreign companies trading with Damascus.

The US and the Europeans had already banned export and investment in Syria, as well as transactions involving oil and hydrocarbon products.

Syria has said the real purpose of the measures is to put pressure on Syrians and their livelihoods -- an inhumane attempt to suffocate ordinary people.

Officials also say the stepped-up smuggling of strategic Syrian resources is the latest inhuman tactic using people's basic needs as a tool to pressure the government.


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