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US inflicted huge losses on Syrian economy through war, sanctions: Syrian officials

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)
A US soldier looks on while an AH-64 Apache assault helicopter flies above during a patrol by the Suwaydiyah oil fields in Hasakah province, northeastern Syria, on February 13, 2021. (Photo by AFP)

The United States’ illegal military presence in Syria, accompanied by systematic looting of the nation’s natural resources and economic sanctions, have inflicted huge losses on the Arab country, Syrian officials say.

Walid Darwich, member of the Syrian People’s Assembly, told al-Ahed news on Tuesday that the current tough economic situation in Syria reflects the impact of harsh US sanctions on the Syrian people.

What the US does in Syria, Darwich said, “is not just depriving the Syrian people of gas and oil [through sanctions], but also stealing the riches of their country. The US has been stealing the country’s oil, gas, wheat and artifacts with the help of terrorist groups inside Syria.”

He said the US has also inflicted tremendous losses on Syria due to the destruction of its infrastructure and the funding and support of terrorist groups across the war-torn country.

“The international community and organizations must speak up and do something about the crimes the US is perpetrating against the Syrian people,” Darwich said.

At the end of 2022, the Syrian foreign ministry issued a statement saying the US has been carrying on with its aggressive practices and gross violations of human rights and the provisions of the UN charter through its illegal military presence in parts of Syria and stealing Syria’s national wealth, particularly in the northeast and in the Al-Tanf region.

The ministry also said that the direct losses from attacks carried out by US forces and affiliated terrorist groups amounted to 25.9 billion dollars, including theft of oil, gas, mineral resources, theft of facilities, and damage resulting from airstrikes on oil and gas facilities by the illegal military coalition led by the US.

Akhil Eid, director of the press office in the Syrian Ministry of Oil, also said on Tuesday that the real figure pertaining to the losses inflicted on Syria by the US theft exceeded 110 billion dollars.

The figure includes direct and indirect losses, meaning losses of benefits and losses from destruction of oil facilities, he said.

“The crisis began when the terrorist groups cut off the heavy oil line,” the Syrian official said. “Back then, Syria was producing 385,000 barrels of oil per day, half of which was sufficient for local production and the other half was exported and secured hard currency for the country.”

He explained that “in 2013, the heavy oil line was cut off, the country became dependent on imports, there were unilateral US sanctions and a naval blockade, and oil installations were targeted.”

The United States invaded Syria in 2014 at the head of scores of its allies under the pretext of battling the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group. The US-led coalition has maintained its presence, despite the fact that it was Syria and its allies, including Iran and Russia, who defeated the terrorist outfit in late 2017.

Pentagon claims that the deployment is aimed at preventing the oilfields in the area from falling into the hands of terrorists.

Damascus, however, maintains the deployment is meant to plunder the country’s natural resources. Former US president Donald Trump admitted on several occasions that American forces were in the Arab country for its oil wealth.

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