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US convoy of 30 tankers crosses into Iraq with smuggled Syrian oil

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)
Mask-clad US soldiers walk during a patrol near an oil production facility in the countryside near al-Malikiyah in Syria's northeastern province of Hasakah on October 27, 2020. (Photo by AFP)

Amid reports that the US military is systematically smuggling basic commodities out of Syria, a convoy of three dozen tankers has carried thousands of liters of Syrian crude oil from Hasakah to the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region in northern Iraq.

Local sources, requesting anonymity, told Syria’s official news agency SANA that 30 tankers laden with stolen Syrian oil entered the Iraqi territories on Thursday after crossing al-Waleed border crossing.

The sources said a number of covered trucks as well as armored vehicles escorted the convoy as it arrived at the crossing.

The development came only a few days after American forces allowed a convoy of 80 vehicles, including tanker trucks carrying stolen Syrian oil, to cross the “illegitimate” al-Waleed crossing into Iraq.

SANA cited local sources from Rmelan town in Hasakah province as saying that the convoy was accompanied by armored vehicles.

Last week, SANA reported that a US convoy, consisting of more than two dozen tanker trucks loaded with crude oil looted from the al-Jazira region in Syria’s Hasakah province had left the war-ravaged country and entered neighboring Iraq.

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

Former US president Donald Trump admitted on more than one occasion that American forces were in Syria for its oil.

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 purported aim of choking off revenue sources for the government.

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

Syria says the real purpose of the measures is to put pressure on Syrians and their livelihoods.

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

Last April, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the United States makes use of the Daesh terrorist group to impede a political solution to the decade-long crisis in Syria and supports separatist militants in a flagrant violation of international resolutions.

Lavrov said the US has occupied lands in Syria and continues to plunder its natural wealth, including oil, gas, and wheat, and escalates tensions to destabilize the war-torn Arab country.

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