DAMASCUS (Dispatches) – The U.S. has deployed a convoy of 75 units of military and logistics equipment to Syria’s oil-rich eastern province of Dayr al-Zawr and the northeastern province of Hasakah, SANA news agency has reported.
According to sources from the northeastern city of Qamishli, the convoy crossed the Semalka border checkpoint on Thursday evening and headed towards two U.S. bases in the two regions.
In October 2019, President Trump announced that the U.S. would be withdrawing its forces from the Arab Republic, adding that a small contingent would stay behind to "keep the oil”.
The decision was harshly condemned by Damascus, who accused Washington of illegally seizing the oil fields and stealing the country’s natural resources.
The U.S. claimed that the move was aimed at protecting the fields and facilities from possible attacks by the Daesh terrorist group. That claim came although Trump had earlier suggested that Washington sought economic interests in controlling the oilfields.
Pentagon chief Mark Esper then threatened that the U.S. forces deployed to the oil fields would use "military force” against any party that might seek to challenge control of the sites, even if it were Syrian government forces or their Russian allies.
In late December, Syrian presidential adviser Bouthaina Shaaban said that the country was considering filing an international suit against the American government over "the fact that they steal Syrian oil.”
Syria, which has not authorized American military presence in its territory, has said the U.S. is "plundering” the country’s oil.
On December 18, 2019, China’s special envoy for Syria said the United States’ pretext for extending its military presence in the Arab country, namely to protect Syrian oil fields, was untenable.
"Who have given the Americans the right to do this? And, at whose invitation is the U.S. protecting Syria’s oil fields?” Xie Xiaoyan said at a press conference in Moscow.
"Let’s think the other way around: will the US allow Syria to send troops to U.S. territory to protect oil fields there?” he said.