WASHINGTON (Dispatches) – A Pentagon spokesman claims U.S. troops in Syria are not ‘guarding’ oil fields as previously ordered by former President Donald Trump.
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said that U.S. troops have not been involved in Syria’s oil fields since the U.S. firm Delta Crescent Energy inked a deal last August with the Kurds in northern Syria to develop and export the area’s crude oil.
Kirby’s comment was an admission that the American firm is exploiting Syrian oil without authorization from Damascus.
Damascus has said the agreement — signed between the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) militant group and the American oil company — is null and void, and that the parties involved are plundering Syria’s national resources.
The 900 U.S. military personnel and contractors in the region "are not authorized to provide assistance to any other private company, including its employees or agents, seeking to develop oil resources in Syria,” said Kirby.
The comments embody a shift in the tone of the administration of U.S. President Joe Biden, which is seeking to depart from the Trump-era approach to the decade-long foreign-backed war in Syria.
Several times during his presidency, Trump contradicted the account often offered by his advisers and U.S. military officials that the U.S. was fighting Daesh in Syria, saying explicitly that the American troops in the Arab country were there "only for the oil.”
Damascus has urged the administration of new U.S. President Joe Biden to withdraw the American troops from Syria and stop the plundering of Syrian wealth.
"The new U.S. administration must stop acts of aggression and occupation, plundering the wealth of my country, withdraw its occupying forces from it, and stop supporting separatist militias, illegal entities, and attempts to threaten Syria’s sovereignty, unity, and territorial integrity,” Syria’s UN Ambassador Bashar al-Jaafari said during a virtual session of the UN Security Council on January 20.