The Pentagon announced Monday that the US forces in Syria are no longer responsible for protecting oil in this country, as their only duty is to fight the Islamic State, in an amendment to the goals set for these forces by former President Donald Trump.
“Defense Department employees and subcontractors are not authorized to extend a helping hand to a private company seeking to exploit oil resources in Syria, nor to the employees of this company or its agents,” said US Defense Department spokesman John Kirby.
In response to a question about the US forces ’mission in Syria, he added that the US military deployed in northeastern Syria, numbering about 900,” are there to support the mission against the Islamic State in Syria… This is the reason for their presence there”.
This amendment is considered a change of tone between the new democratic administration and its predecessor, rather than a strategic shift, as the US military has never before been involved in any exploitation of Syrian oil.
The vast majority of oil fields in eastern and northeastern Syria remain outside the regime’s control.
These fields are located in areas that are mainly controlled by the “Syria Democratic Forces,” the military forces associated with the Kurdish Autonomous Administration, whose oil revenues are the main source of their income.
In the year 2020, an agreement was reached between the American oil company, “Delta Crescent Energy” and the Kurdish Autonomous Administration, allowing the Syrian Democratic Forces to escape from a wide range of sanctions imposed by the United States on the Syrian regime.
Trump had said in 2019, when he reversed his decision to withdraw all US forces from northeastern Syria, that he would keep a few hundred soldiers “where there is oil”.
The US administration defended itself from the accusation of benefiting financially from Syrian oil, and the Pentagon confirmed that the presence of its forces in the oil regions in Syria aims to prevent this oil from reaching ISIS and to allow the Syria Democratic Forces to finance their reconstruction efforts.