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Kurdish fighters in Syria are smuggling oil out of the war-torn country in partnership with the U.S., Turkish language daily Yeni ?afak reports, quoting fighters of the Kurdish YPG forces who have surrendered to Turkish security forces and whom Turkey see as terrorists acting in northern Syria.
According to the accounts of the surrendered Kurds, reported by Turkish media, oil from Syria’s oil-rich Deir Ezzor region is being smuggled out of the country onto Iraq and from Iraq’s port of Basra it is being shipped to the United States.
Authorities from Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands, and Egypt have also taken samples of that oil, according to the media reports in Turkey, which is a party in the Syrian conflict supporting the opposition to Syrian President Bashar al Assad.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned on Wednesday that a Turkish military operation in the opposition-held Idlib province to stop a Syrian army offensive is “a matter of time.”
After a surprise announcement of pulling the U.S. troops out of Syria in October last year, U.S. President Donald Trump said that the United States would protect Syrian oil fields from ISIS.
President 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.”
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The President did not elaborate on what he meant by “securing the oil,” but speculations about the President’s statement assume he was referring to the U.S. special forces that have been—and will continue to be—in control of oil and gas fields in Deir Ezzor, Syria’s oil region.
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.
At the end of last year, Turkish media reported that the United States had moved more equipment from Iraq into Syria to boost the protection of the oil and gas fields in eastern Syria.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.