The United States will keep hold of oil and gas fields in eastern Syria and the Al Tanf base in the south under the plan to withdraw troops from the country, the Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper reported on Monday.
According to the Pentagon’s current withdrawal plans, the U.S. will maintain control over the Al Tanf military base near the Syrian-Iraqi-Jordanian border, including by keeping a special forces unit to help the Syrian opposition with intelligence support, Asharq Al-Awsat says.
Another point of the plans for withdrawal includes retaining contractors from private military firms near oil wells and gas plants in the region east of the Euphrates river, which holds 90 percent of Syria’s oil. Under the plan, the U.S. would also move military bases closer to oil wells near the Iraqi border to prevent them from falling into Assad’s hands before any agreements are reached.
The current game plan of the U.S. is to relocate the 1,000 troops from Syria to western Iraq, U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said on Saturday, confirming that some forces will remain at the Al Tanf garrison in the south.
“Things could change between now and whenever we complete the withdrawal. But that’s the game plan right now,” Esper said. Related: The Oil Rig Count Collapse Continues
The Kurdish SDF forces control most of Syria’s oil. Pre-war, Syria was producing 387,000 barrels of oil per day, 140,000 barrels per day which were exported.
On Friday, President Donald Trump claimed that the U.S. had taken control of the oil in the Middle East, tweeting that “The U.S. has secured the Oil, & the ISIS Fighters are double secured by Kurds & Turkey.”
The President did not elaborate on what he meant by “securing the oil,” but speculations about the President’s statement assume he is referring to US special forces that have been—and will continue to be—in control of oil and gas fields in Deir Ezzor.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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