DAMASCUS (Sputnik) – The U.S.’s pillaging of eastern Syria appears to be continuing unabated, with the Syrian Arab News Agency reporting Sunday that over 45 vehicles loaded with wheat and oil have left the Rmelan area in northeastern Hasakah province heading for the unofficial al-Waleed border crossing with Iraq.
SANA says local sources from al-Swaidiyeh village told the news agency that the convoy of vehicles included 45 truck and tanker vehicles. At the same time, the sources said, a separate convoy of 27 vehicles loaded up with supplies and equipment came through the same crossing and made their way to Rmelan to support the U.S. troops stationed there.
The news comes less than 24 hours after a separate incident, during which 37 tankers carrying oil illegally pumped from the Syrian region of Jazira and several trucks and refrigerators carrying unknown cargoes made their way for the al-Waleed crossing. In that instance, SANA’s sources said multiple tankers were fitted with large covered boxes, and that the convoy was accompanied by machinegun-armed support vehicles said to belong to the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces – the U.S.-allied, predominantly Kurdish militants which enjoys de facto control over much of eastern Syria.
The reported shipment of resources and equipment comes amid warnings by Washington late last month telling U.S. allies in the Middle East to think “very carefully” about any plans to normalize relations with Syria, and threatening them with Caesar Act restrictions – which allow the U.S. to sanction any country or business that cooperates with the government of President Bashar Assad.
Washington has used its control of these areas in combination with crushing sanctions to keep Damascus crippled and to prevent the war-torn from rebuilding, and Syrian media report on a weekly and sometimes daily basis on the smuggling of dozens of trucks filled with oil and grains out of the country, as military equipment and supplies are brought back in. In March, Syrian oil minister Bassam Touma estimated that as much as 90 percent of Syria’s oil resources are under the control of the U.S. and its allies.