Why The U.S. Won’t Back Down From Syrian Oil Fields

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By Tsvetana Paraskova

The U.S. military near the oil fields in northern Syria has every right to defend against other forces if oil is threatened, according to Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Rath Hoffman.

Proceeds from the oil fields under U.S. control will not go to the United States, rather they will go to the Kurdish allies Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), according to the spokesman.

On Wednesday, a senior State Department official said, commenting on Syrian oil:

“Our local SDF allies are reliant upon the oil fields. We also have had – ever since we went in there, and in fact even before we were in most of that Syria, we were doing it from the air – the mission of denying the oil revenues to Daesh, because this was a major source of Daesh money.”

U.S. President Donald Trump has approved a wider mission for the U.S. military to protect oil fields in eastern Syria, the Associated Press reported on Wednesday, citing U.S. officials. The expanded mission to secure Syria’s oil posed questions as to whether the U.S. military had the legal right to defend against attacks from Syrian, Russian, or other forces should they threaten the oil fields, according to the AP.

While the mission would be a win for American commanders that have insisted that U.S. troops remain in Syria to ensure that ISIS won’t be resurrected and take the oil fields, it’s the Pentagon that would ultimately give direction to the U.S. military in Syria, such as should they fire at other forces if oil is threatened, the AP’s Lolita C. Baldor writes. President Trump has vowed to protect Syrian oil fields from ISIS, and the United States may leave 500 troops in northeastern Syria and send in battle tanks and other equipment with the purpose to help the Kurds in the area to protect oil fields that used to be controlled by Islamic State during its so-called caliphate in parts of Iraq and Syria.

“The Oil Fields discussed in my speech on Turkey/Kurds yesterday were held by ISIS until the United States took them over with the help of the Kurds. We will NEVER let a reconstituted ISIS have those fields!” President Trump tweeted at the end of October.

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