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US military forces smuggle new convoy of stolen oil from northeast Syria to Iraq: Report

In this file picture, a US armored vehicle drives past an oil field in the countryside of al-Qahtaniyah town in Syria's northeastern Hasakah province near the Turkish border on August 4, 2020. (Photo by AFP)

Amid Washington’s aggressive attempts to systematically smuggle basic commodities out of Syria, a convoy consisting of more than a hundred US military tankers has carried thousands of liters of crude oil 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 144 tankers laden with stolen Syrian oil entered the Iraqi territories on Thursday after crossing al-Mahmoudiya border crossing.

The development took place only a few days after American occupation forces allowed a convoy of 60 vehicles, including tanker trucks carrying stolen Syrian oil and covered trucks, to cross the “illegitimate” al-Waleed crossing into Iraq.

On Wednesday, Bouthaina Shaaban, a political and media adviser to Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian president, condemned the US for plundering Syria's resources as the latest data shows that most of oil produced in the country had been pillaged by the illegal American military presence and the Takfiri militants it supports.

“The United States is currently occupying Syrian territories and plundering Syria's grain and oil resources. These actions of the United States are very shameful. Hence, we never trust anything the United States says because what they claim is seriously contrary to what they do,” she said.

According to data released by the Syrian Ministry of Oil and Mineral Resources, Syria produced a total of 14.5 million barrels of oil in the first half of the current year, and the daily oil production stood at about 80,300 barrels.

American occupation forces and their allied Takfiris plundered 66,000 barrels of crude oil during the mentioned period.

The data further showed that just about 14,200 barrels were available for the Syrian domestic oil refineries.

Last month, China urged the United States to immediately stop plundering Syria’s national resources after reports said American forces had lately transferred stolen Syrian oil to northern Iraq.  

China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said on July 20 that the US exhibited “bandit behavior” after he was asked to comment on Washington transferring “stolen oil” to Iraq from occupied Syrian oilfields.

Wang said 90 percent of the Syrian population is currently living below the poverty line and two thirds relies on humanitarian assistance. More than half of the population suffers from food insecurity, he added.

“The US military still occupies the main grain- and oil-producing areas in Syria, looting and plundering Syrian national resources, worsening the local humanitarian crisis,” the Chinese diplomat said.

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, however, maintains the deployment is meant to plunder the country's rich mineral resources.

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


Over 300 Turkish intellectuals demand cancellation of Ankara plans for new in northern Syria

Meanwhile, a total of 308 Turkish intellectuals, including academics, journalists, authors and actors, have in a joint statement called for the cancellation of Ankara’s plans for a new military operation in northern Syria.

They stated that the new offensive threatened by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lacks logic, and is merely intended to serve the interests of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).


The intellectuals went on to emphasize that the operation would require huge sums of money, and this comes at the same that millions of Turkish citizens are facing numerous living difficulties.

The statement also denounced Turkey’s opposition parties over failure to demonstrate a firm stance vis-à-vis the aggressive policy of the ruling AKP, stating that such an inaction would make the opposition get involved in bloodshed and crimes against humanity.

Last Monday, Erdogan hinted at his country’s plan for a new cross-border operation in neighboring Syria to remove members of the US-backed Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) militant group from border areas.

“We will continue our fight against terrorism. Our decision to establish a 30-kilometer-deep (18.6-mile) secure line along our southern border is final,” Erdogan said in an address to Turkish diplomats attending the 13th Ambassadors Conference in the capital Ankara.

Both Iran and Russia, which have been aiding Damascus in its anti-terror campaign, have warned Turkey against launching such an offensive.

Turkey has deployed forces in Syria in violation of the Arab country's sovereignty and territorial integrity. 

Ankara-backed militants were deployed to northeastern Syria in October 2019 after Turkish military forces launched a long-threatened cross-border invasion in a declared attempt to push YPG fighters away from border areas.

Ankara views the 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.

The Syrian president and other senior officials have said Damascus will respond through all legitimate means available to Turkey's ongoing ground offensive.

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