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Irina Slav

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Irina is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.

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Trump Vows To Protect Syrian Oil Fields From ISIS

The United States may leave 500 troops in northeastern Syria and send in battle tanks and other equipment, the Wall Street Journal reports, citing military officials who presented the option to President Donald Trump.

The purpose of this move would be 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.

Trump himself said he would want to prevent these fields from falling back into the hands of Islamic State in a tweet.

“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!” Trump wrote on Thursday.

At the moment, the fields are controlled by the Kurds, whose Syrian Democratic Forces militias—an opposition group—the U.S. backed in the Syrian civil war. Now, however, the situation has changed. After Turkey launched an offensive against the Kurds as soon as Trump announced the withdrawal of U.S. troops from the war-torn country, they struck a protection deal with the Assad government, which appeared to be the only force in the vicinity able to stop the Turkish push. Related: How Much Oil Is Up For Grabs In Syria?

This has made for a complicated situation. The commander of the SF blamed the U.S. withdrawal for forcing the militias to strike a deal with Assad. "If we have to choose between compromise and genocide, we will choose our people," Mazloum Abdi wrote for Foreign Policy. "The Russian and Syrian regime have made proposals that could save the lives of millions of people who live under our protection."

As a result of this change of affiliations, now the Kurds may not be too happy about U.S. troops staying in Syria.

This latest move from the Trump administration comes on the back of multiple tweets about Syria, one of which included a claim to have 'taken control' of the oil in the Middle East.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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  • Mamdouh Salameh on October 25 2019 said:
    The Syrian Army is capable of protecting the oilfields in Deir Ezzor region against ISIS and other terrorists without President Trump’s help. Moreover, the civil war in Syria will be over the minute the United States exits the country.

    Furthermore, most of the oilfields are under control of the ex-allies of the United States, the Syrian Kurds, who will repay President Trump’s betrayal by surrendering the oilfields to the Syrian government in exchange for protection. The commander of the Syrian Kurds, General Mazloum Abdi blamed the US withdrawal for forcing the militias to strike a deal with the Syrian government. He said "If we have to choose between compromise and genocide, we will choose our people." "The Russians and Syrians have made proposals that could save the lives of millions of people who live under our protection."

    The United States is using the excuse of protecting the oilfields to justify its continued presence in Syria with the aim of stirring more trouble and preventing an end of the civil war there and also starving Syria of its own oil resources.

    President Trump’s policy in Syria has been muddled from the start and he himself is muddled as well not being able to stick to a policy from one day to the other. The United States has lost any influence on the situation in Syria, saw Turkey defies it and moves against the Syrian Kurds, gained the contempt of the Syrian Kurds for its betrayal of them, saw Russia emerging as the dominant power in Syria and also saw Bashar Al-Assad triumphs in the 9-year civil war.

    Dr Mamdouh G Salameh
    International Oil Economist
    Visiting Professor of Energy Economics at ESCP Europe Business School, London

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