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US occupation forces continue to smuggle Syrian oil to Iraq: SANA

In this file photo, an American military convoy stops near the town of Tel Tamr in the western part of Hasakah province, Syria. (File by AP)

A convoy of more than 30 US military trucks along with tankers has reportedly transported stolen Syrian oil from the 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 33 US military vehicles along with several oil tankers from the al-Ya’rubiyah region entered the Iraqi territories after crossing al-Waleed border crossing.

“Over the past hours, a convoy of 33 US occupation vehicles including tankers laden with stolen oil from the Syrian al-Jazeera region headed for the Iraqi territory through al-Walid illegitimate crossing,” local sources from al-Ya’arubyia were quoted as saying.

The convoy was also accompanied by dozens of new Hummer military vehicles and a number of vehicles belonging to the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). The SDF, a US-backed alliance of Kurdish militants operating against Damascus, currently controls areas in northern and eastern Syria.

According to SANA, several columns of US forces have crossed through the al-Walid crossing between Iraq and Syria and have been redeployed in bases in north and northeast Syria over the past few days. 

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 the Daesh Takfiri terrorists. Damascus, however, 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 United States 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.

Former President Donald Trump of the US had openly admitted on several occasions that oil was the main reason which kept US troops in Syria. In July 2020 and during a Senate hearing, South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham and former US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo hinted at the matter. 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.

The Syrian government strongly condemned the oil 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 Trump administration.

US President Joe Biden’s pick to lead the Pentagon’s Middle East desk once said Washington “owned” Syria’s oil and gas resources in the northeast.

In an interview with the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) back in October 2019, Dana Stroul said the US military was using the territory as “leverage” in the conflict. “The United States still had compelling forms of leverage on the table to shape an outcome that was more conducive and protective of US interests.”

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