Turkey's state-run media is reporting the United States is planning two new military bases in Syria's oil-rich Deir ez-Zor province, which are currently under construction, after US special forces convoys were seen patrolling the area in the past days.
Anadolu Agency, citing local sources, said the bases were under construction as evidenced by the influx of heavy equipment:
While the footage captured by Anadolu Agency showed that much construction equipment is being put into action, it was learnt the U.S. has sent 250 to 300 additional soldiers, armored vehicles, heavy weapons and ammunition to the region.
The reported added: “The military bases are being built in the 113th Brigade area and near al-Sur region,” according to the sources.
Syria's largest oil fields, which historically account for most of its domestic energy needs, are located in Deir Ezzor, including Al-Omar, Conoco, and Rumeilan.
A US coalition statement confirmed last week that American forces are being "repositioned" in Syria's oil rich region just east of the Euphrates to "protect critical infrastructure" - following Trump's roll out of his controversial "secure the oil" plan.
Days ago Russia accused the United States of stealing what rightfully belongs to the Syrian government and people, with Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov alleging earlier that US government agencies received over $30 million a month in oil production in Syria.
According to various reports in last several days US forces were spotted in the following locations in Syria, either patrolling near oil (Rmelan), deploying Bradleys (Deir Ezzor region) or on the road with trucks (i.e to Sarrin and back) pic.twitter.com/FJgQ6HoLNo— Seth Frantzman (@sfrantzman) November 4, 2019
In response to Tuesday's Turkish media reports on the establishment of two new American military bases east of the Euphrates, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Vershinin said, "Any actions whatsoever – we are not talking about anything in particular now – that the United States undertake to keep themselves militarily present in Syria are unacceptable and illegal from our point of view and under international law."
Multiple images have surfaced in the past days confirming that the Pentagon has indeed launched a "secure the oil" policy, though not every of Syria's oil and gas fields east of the Euphrates have witnessed US forces enter.
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Russia could eject them in five minutes but then the world will face World War Three and there lies the rub. Still, Russia a few days ago accused the United States of stealing what rightfully belongs to the Syrian government and people with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Vershinin saying "Any actions whatsoever that the United States undertake to keep itself in Syria are unacceptable and illegal from our point of view and under international law."
President Trump is not only turning his occupation and exploitation of Syrian oilfields into a daylight robbery, he is also disgracing his country by violating international law and the sovereignty of an independent country.
What he doesn’t realize is that by stealing and selling Syria’s oil illegally, he is not only breaking his own sanctions policy against Syria but he is also breaking UN sanctions against country. Furthermore, he is sanctioning other countries who supply Syria with its oil needs legally.
Any wonder then that people of the world and a majority of the American people would welcome his impeachment.
Dr Mamdouh G Salameh
International Oil Economist
Visiting Professor of Energy Economics at ESCP Europe Business School, London